Police want Siaya priest who ‘flouted’ quarantine rule detained for 5 days

By Lenox Sengre On Tue, 14 Apr, 2020 12:52 | 2 mins read
Father Richard Oduor
Catholic priest, Father Richard Oduor (in black suit) when he was arraigned on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. PHOTO | LENNOX SENGRE

The Catholic priest who is accused of wilfully exposing himself to the public while suffering from the infectious coronavirus disease has been arraigned in court.

Father Richard Oduor was arraigned in Nairobi on Tuesday, April 14, at the Milimani Law Courts but the prosecution requested to detain him for five days to conclude investigations.

The prosecution told the court that the Rome-based priest is likely to interfere with some of the witnesses that they plan to interrogate since some of them are his juniors.

Further, the prosecution said it wants more time to obtain the flight manifest of the Kenya Airways plane that the priest traveled on from Rome to JKIA, Nairobi on March 12.

The sleuths also want to get the flight manifest of the Jambo Jet plane that flew from Kisumu on March 16, 2020.

Statements from the Kisumu guesthouse where Father Oduor spent the night on March 13 and the medical doctor who attended him at the Nairobi clinic on Eastern by-pass have also not been obtained.

In their application to have the priest detained, the prosecution also claims that the clergyman is a flight risk.

The priest has been accused of willfully exposing himself to the public while suffering from an infectious disease, COVID-19, without proper precautions.

According to the medical report from Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Father Oduor was admitted on March 20 at their infectious disease unit at Mbagathi.

The priest had presented with complaints of cough and sore throat for one day and had a concurrent history of travel, having moved from Rome, Ital to Kenya on March 12.

KNH said the priest was tested for SARS CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, and the results were positive.

The nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab test was conducted a day after the priest was admitted.

A day later, KNH said they transferred Father Oduor to the infections disease unit at the main hospital where he underwent a series of further tests that included a full haemogram, renal and liver function test.

The hospital said the full haemogram revealed a low lymphocyte county which is expected in COVID-19 disease but the renal and liver tests were normal.

Sixteen days after he was admitted, the priest was tested again for COVID-19 and the results returned negative. Another test that was conducted on April 7, returned negative leading to the priest being discharged from KNH.

Now the court will rule on Tuesday evening if the priest will remain in detention for five days at the Kileleshwa Police Station in Nairobi as requested by the prosecution.

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