By Lazarus Maitha in Mombasa County
Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has been arrested.
Saburi was arrested by DCI detectives and police a few minutes past 2pm Friday at the Coast Provincial General Hospital, where he had been placed under mandatory quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.
The law enforcement officers had arrived at the hospital a few minutes past 11am, and their attempts to access the ward which Saburi was in, were thwarted after they were told that they did not have the appropriate protective gear.
The officers only had hand gloves and face masks on.
At the time, Saburi also refused to come out of his ward, saying he needed to take a bath and have a change of clothes before coming out. The officers allowed his request. However, even after taking a bath and changing into clean clothes, Saburi declined to get out, forcing police to attempt to access the DG’s ward.
The officers were later, around 2pm, given the appropriate protective gear and allowed to access Saburi’s ward, consequently, effecting the arrest.
The DG was taken to Port Police Station in Kilindini, where he is being detained, K24 Digital understands.
Saburi, a recovered coronavirus patient, is accused of refusing to self-quarantine for 14 days during the early days of his ailment.
The DG is said to have endangered the lives of tens of people he came into contact with after returning to Kilifi, Kenya from Germany.
On Thursday, April 2, Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, announced that Saburi had recovered fully from coronavirus, and that upon being discharged from hospital, he will be charged with placing the lives of other citizens at risk.
Shortly after Saburi was arrested and taken into mandatory quarantine, Kagwe — during a press conference on March 22 — said the deputy governor will be charged under Public Health Act, 2012.
“This will apply to a senior government official in Kilifi who defied and refused to self-quarantine and who is now being forcibly quarantined in a facility. Upon completion of the period given by our health authorities, the official will be charged in a court of law,” Kagwe said on March 22.
Part 4, Section 28 (a) of the Public Health Act states that: “Any person who while suffering from any infectious disease, willfully exposes himself without proper precautions against spreading the said disease in any street, public place, shop, inn or public conveyance, or enters any public conveyance without previously notifying the owner, conductor or driver thereof that he is so suffering, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.”
CS Kagwe, during a press briefing at Afya House on April 2, repeated that Saburi, whom he had confirmed to be coronavirus negative after spending time in quarantine, will be arrested and charged.
“The Deputy Governor of Kilifi County, whom we placed under mandatory quarantine, has fully recovered. He has been declared fit after being subjected to three tests, all of which turned negative. The law will now take effect on him,” said Kagwe.
And, on Friday, April 3, a contingent of DCI detectives and other police officers were assigned the task of arresting the DG, who had been admitted at the Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa.
The law enforcement officers arrived at the facility a few minutes past 11am to effect the arrest, but Saburi, who had already been cleared to leave the hospital, refused to get out of the ward.
After a 3-hour cat-and-mouse game with police, Saburi was arrested and whisked to Port Police Station.