Why postmortem on judge’s body was delayed

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 18 Dec, 2019 12:16 | 2 mins read
Justice Otieno Odek
Court of Appeal judge Otieno Odek who was found dead at his Groovehut Apartments home in Kisumu on Monday morning. PHOTO | PD
Court of Appeal judge Otieno Odek who was found dead at his Groovehut Apartments home in Kisumu on Monday morning. PHOTO | PD

By Noven Owiti

A postmortem examination to ascertain the cause of death of Appeal Court judge Otieno Odek has been delayed after his family asked for time to decide where it would be conducted.

Family members allegedly opposed plans to fly their kin’s body to the Lee Funeral Home, Nairobi, until they agree on where exactly they want it preserved.

“We have to sit down as a family and discuss on a few things and that is where a place for preserving the body will be agreed on,” said Justice Odek’s elder brother, Yonah Odek.

The body had already been taken to the Kisumu airport to be flown to Nairobi, but the family said they were not aware of plans to fly the judge’s remains to the capital city.

Yonah said the body was taken back to Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu, after consultations between the family and judiciary officials.

“We realised that some judges and relatives wanted to view the body here in Kisumu. After consultations it was decided that the body be returned to Aga Khan Hospital mortuary.”

Funeral arrangements

However, Yonah did not rule out plans to take the body to Nairobi, saying a final decision would be reached after family meetings in Kisumu and Nairobi.

Sources said Judiciary officials had proposed that the body be airlifted to Nairobi on Monday, soon after it was discovered in his house.

Family members and relatives in Kisumu are holding meetings to kick-start funeral arrangements.

Yonah revealed that Odek’s burial would be held at his rural home in Asembo, Siaya County.

“We will give the official communication on the final plans including postmortem exercise and burial later.”

Justice Odek's wife, Anne Achieng', was present during the briefing at the Kisumu hospital.

Meanwhile, proceedings at the Court of Appeal in Kisumu were yesterday adjourned until next year as appellate judges paid their last respects to a fallen colleague.

Justice Asikhe Makhandia confirmed that the court would take an early break to condole with the late Justice Odek’s family.

“In honour and respect to our departed colleague, we will adjourn all our sittings until January next year,” said Justice Makhandia.

Among the cases which were scheduled for hearing include one in which retired President Daniel arap Moi has appealed against a ruling on the ownership of a 53-acre piece of land in Eldoret.

The ruling, which was delivered on May 8, 2019 in favour of former MP Noah Chelugui at the Eldoret Environment and Land court by Justice Antony Ombwayo, required the former Head of State to pay Sh1 billion compensation to the former legislator.

On October 17, 2019, the Court of Appeal in a decision by a three-judge Bench of Justice Patrick Kiage, Makhandia and Okoth Odera, ordered the status quo to be maintained until the appeal is heard and determined.

Chelugui’s widow, Susan Chelugui, 85, and his son David Chelugui, sued Moi, Rai Plywood Kenya Ltd and four other respondents.

The body of Odek was found in his Groovehut apartment house within Kisumu’s Milimani estate partly covered with a blanket with one of his hands supporting his head.

Nyanza regional police commander Vincent Makokha said investigations were ongoing to establish the cause of Odek’s death.

The police boss said detectives would rely on the postmortem report while conducting their own investigations.