In Summary

  • Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan has also dismissed claims of witness coaching or writing a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto apologising over ICC cases. 
  • Our sources also said that the gang of witness busters is tracking down about 10 individuals to make them stand down.
  • But a former witness dismissed claims that they were being lured to leave the ICC witness protection unit.

Allegations of witness coaching, intimidation, coercion and cajoling have been the hallmarks of the Kenyan cases at The Hague.

Interviews with people who have dropped out of the ICC witness list paint a dark picture of an operation that is replete with blackmail by crooked individuals out to derail the cases by all means.

Claims of false witnesses coached by the civil society have also clouded the hearing, which started last week with Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang appearing before the judges.

The Sunday Nation has established that the shadowy team hunting down witnesses includes lawyers and businessmen. The witnesses are identified through relatives and former allies, who lure them from their safe houses in the region.

The witnesses who recant their testimonies are allegedly rewarded with between Sh2 and Sh3 million each, while those who resist are coerced through relatives, friends and family until they give up.

Both the prosecution and defence have disputed claims of either coaching or bribing witnesses to strengthen or weaken the cases.

Our sources also said that the gang of witness busters is tracking down about 10 individuals to make them stand down.

Apart from top lawyers and businessmen, the network also includes community elders who use the extended family to intimidate witnesses into surrendering. One of the individuals we interviewed showed us telephone numbers (withheld) they claimed were used by former ICC witnesses to convince witnesses in Poland and Tanzania to stop working with ICC.

Some of them are back in Kenya and are living extravagantly having bought parcels of land and cars.

For instance, a man from Nandi County, who renounced his testimony in February, has since bought a seven-seater vehicle, land and a plot in a move that has left villagers wondering his sudden source of funding.

Another claimed he quit the ICC train after he was told that his elderly mother was ailing and might die in his absence.

The man from Uasin Gishu County returned to Kenya late last month. He was poor when he left the village but now he’s the talk of the village owing to his changed financial status.

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