Shaban linked to murder of British geologist

Gideon Maundu | NATION
Mr Bruce Bridges, the son of geologist Rodney Bridges, in a Mombasa court on August 30, 2012

Two Cabinet ministers and a former Central Bank official were on Thursday mentioned in court during the trial of eight people accused of murdering British geologist Rodney Bridges.

Gender Minister Naomi Shaban, Education assistant minister Calist Mwatela and former Central Bank deputy governor Jacinta Mwatela were named by the geologist’s son, Mr Bruce Bridges, while testifying before Lady Justice Maureen Odero.

Mr Bridges (Bruce), who together with his father were directors of First Green Garnet Mining Company, told the court that they had been issued with an eviction order at their mining sites in Taita Taveta District.

He said that on August 11, 2009, they had sought audience with area district commissioner Njenga Miiri in connection with the threats to their lives and wanted to be provided with security.

The witness said they were told by the DC that their documents were legal and in order, but the issue was sensitive due to influence from “higher up”.

Phone call register

He claimed that during their conversation with Mr Miiri, the administrator received a call purportedly from Dr Shaban asking why he had not arrested the Bridges.

“My father and I were shocked,” said Mr Bridges, who added that the DC had shown them his phone’s call register indicating the caller as Dr Shaban, the Taveta MP.

Mr Bridges, who lives in Arizona USA, told the court that a mining company by the name Tia Akili had put up a Protection Notice — a notice indicating a mine being worked on — in one of their mining areas.

“It is not legal if you put it (Protection Notice) on an existing claim,” said Mr Bridges, adding that he took a picture of the notice.

He told the court that Mr Mwatela was the largest shareholder of Tia Akili with 51 per cent shares while Mr Regea Omar, who is among the murder suspects, had a 40 per cent stake.

He claimed that some of the people who threatened them were using a car owned by Mrs Mwatela.

Mr Mohamed Dadi, Mr Alfred Njuruka, Mr Samuel Mwachala, Mr James Chacha, Mr Daniel Mdachi, Mr Osman Abdi, Mr Crispus Mkunguzi and Mr Regea Omar are alleged to have murdered Mr Bridges.

The offence is alleged to have been committed on August 11, 2009, at Kambaga in Mwasui Ranch, Mwatate in Taita Taveta County.

Hearing continues on Frday.