In Summary
  • Last month, British police released an e-fit photo of the stowaway hoping to have him identified and his family informed.

  • Also released were images of his belongings, among them, a Sh20 coin, a bag and a bottle, which were found in the landing gear of the plane.

  • But in a bizarre twist yesterday, the family identified by the Sky News report as Mr Manyasi’s said their son was alive.

The mystery surrounding the identity of a man who fell off a Kenya Airways plane as it approached London in June has sparked what appears to be a cover-up by government agencies as the repercussions of a possible security breach at Kenya’s largest airport started to sink in.

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First, the alleged family of Paul Manyasi claimed their son was still alive. Then the government agency in charge of security at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) appeared to be reading from a different script on what happened.

With the threat of losing the coveted Category One status dangerously hanging above JKIA, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) maintained that it did not have any records showing that Mr Manyasi, 29 — the man identified by Sky News Africa correspondent John Sparks as having fallen from the belly of a KQ plane — ever worked for them.

This is despite pictures of the personal effects of the deceased released by London’s Metropolitan Police, including a bottle of mineral water manufactured by a Kenyan company, further confirming that the man who fell from the London Sky in June was from Kenya.

And Colnet Limited Kenya, a cleaning company contracted by KAA and where Mr Manyasi is alleged to have worked for, said they did not have anyone with that name in their employee register.

“Colnet is aware of the incident by way of fact that there were investigations carried out on the stowaway incident and the company has provided all employees’ records and information to the investigative authorities which confirm that there is no employee by the name Paul Manyasi,” said the company.  

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The issue came to the fore on Monday when Sky News published a report that Mr Manyasi, who, according to the report, hailed from Makhwabuye Village in Malava constituency, Kakamega County, may have been the stowaway. He lived in Mukuru kwa Njenga slum in Nairobi, which is not far from the airport. 

Last month, British police released an e-fit photo of the stowaway hoping to have him identified and his family informed. Also released were images of his belongings, among them, a Sh20 coin, a bag and a bottle, which were found in the landing gear of the plane.

But in a bizarre twist Wednesday, the family identified by the Sky News report as Mr Manyasi’s said their son was alive.

The family made an about-turn and said that their son’s name was in fact Cedrick Shibonje and was at the Industrial Area Remand Prison after being arrested in July.

It is not clear, why they changed their story.

“Our son was arrested in July this year and has been in remand awaiting trial. We have no idea who the man reported to have fallen from the plane is,” said Ms Janet Khagali, the alleged mother of Mr Manyasi, from the family home.

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This was contrary to information they gave to Sky News in Kakamega, to the effect that the stowaway was indeed their son. They even identified him from photos presented to them.

“I don’t know where to start or end because his phone has been switched off,” Ms Khagali had reportedly told Sky News.

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