Post-mortem rules out foul play in NIS boss Tom Adala's death

Tom Adala

Tom Adala, 54, was an Assistant Director at the NIS. He is said to have taken his life in Kilimani Estate, Nairobi.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Until his death, Adala was an assistant director in charge of counter-violent extremism at NIS headquarters in Ruaraka, Nairobi.

A post-mortem examination on the body of senior National Intelligence Service (NIS) boss Tom Adala has concluded he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

This appears to confirm the suicide theory by police who reported Adala, 54, whose body was found last Tuesday at his Kirichwa home in Nairobi, had shot himself in the head. 

Until his death, Adala was an assistant director in charge of counter-violent extremism at NIS headquarters in Ruaraka, Nairobi.

Chief Government pathologist Johansen Oduor, who conducted the autopsy at the Lee Funeral Home, said Adala was killed by a single bullet to his head.

“It was just a gunshot to the head that was self-inflicted,” Dr Oduor told Nation.Africa, confirming the suicide theory.

Preliminary investigations by the police indicated that Adala shot himself from the right side of the head using a pistol with the bullet exiting through the left side. Police said Adala had been battling depression.

According to the initial police report, Adala’s nephew reported to Kilimani police station that he had found his uncle dead in the servant quarters. 

The nephew had recounted that he last saw his uncle at 10pm on Monday, June 3, when he had gone to sleep in his room upstairs. 

But on Tuesday morning he had not woken up for breakfast by 9am. 

The nephew said he went to check on his uncle in his bedroom but he didn’t find him. 

After checking around the compound, he had stumbled on the body of his uncle lying inside the servant quarters. 

Senior police officers who visited the scene recovered a Glock 19 pistol with one spent cartridge and a magazine loaded with three rounds, according to the police report. 

In his bedroom, another spare magazine was recovered loaded with 13 rounds. 

Police also said they retrieved a suicide note in the bedroom stating: “nobody should be blamed for this.” 

But questions have been raised why no one heard the gunshot that night although the nephew and a watchman were also within the compound. 

And how he had left the main house and went into the servant quarters without anyone noticing. 

It was also curious why the victim would leave the suicide note in his bedroom and walk to the servant quarters to kill himself there. 

Police also initially reported about a black note book, the size of a pocket diary, in which Adala had reportedly extensively written about his marital problems.  

Some of his friends and colleagues said the man had been battling depression for some time but recent changes at his workplace that had affected him had worsened his problems. 

The colleagues said the situation had worsened when he was moved to his new station as the head of counter extremism violence, which appeared like a demotion.

“We visited him severally at his home when he failed to report to work after these staff changes. He wanted to resign but we prevailed on him to stay,” said one senior officer who worked and interacted closely with Adala.

But Adala’s employees at a restaurant he operated in Kisumu have insisted he never showed any signs of someone undergoing problems.  

They described him as jovial whenever he was at the restaurant, adding he was planning to expand his popular restaurant, Yurop Choma Zone (the name Yurop a corruption of Europe).

However, they had noticed one curious thing. Although Adala regularly visited the restaurant every weekend, curiously, in the last two months he hadn’t.

“It was strange that he used to visit every weekend from Nairobi, but this time round it took more than two months before he came back,” said Mr Jack Ralik, a chef, who had worked for him since he had set up the hotel last October. 

But he had informed his workers that he would check in last weekend because he was working to expand his thriving business. 

“He was planning to expand this premises more to accommodate the growing number of customers. My boss was to come next week and had alerted us that we would have a meeting but now he is no more,” said Mr Fredrick Oduor, who is one month old in the job as a cashier. 

Whenever he was at the restaurant, staff told Nation.Africa, he was generous to clients, and freely mingled with the crowd, an attribute which ensured he never had any particular sitting place. 

“When he was around, he would really spoil his customers and freely dished out money,” said Mr Oduor.

Adala was the son of the late Adala Otuko, the first Kenyan Ambassador to Russia and Ker (chairman) of the Luo Council of Elders.