BY AGNES OLOO FOR EDAILY.
The late Careen Chepchumba habitually bought former news anchor Louis Otieno packets of cigar, which went for Ksh31, 000 each from a duty free shop at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), an inquest was told Monday.
Samuel Njuguna Gacheru, a taxi driver, who had built a rapport with Careen Chepchumba, told the court that the deceased would send him – time and again – to run errands on her behalf, including picking cigars from the JKIA, at times on debt.
Gacheru recounted learning about Careen Chepchumba’s death through her sister, when he ringed Chepchumba to inquire about a pending pay.
“Her sister received the call, and told me that Careen had died,” said Gacheru.
The cab driver recounted regularly picking up Careen Chepchumba from her house and dropping her at work her work place.
“Sometimes she, in the company of Louis Otieno, would ask me to drive them to shopping centres. She had introduced Otieno to me as her friend,” Gacheru said.
Manase Mwaura Ngumi, who owns the duty free cigar shop at the JKIA, had in a past inquest confirmed to the court that he regularly supplied Careen Chepchumba with the Ksh31, 000-a-packet cigars.
Ngumi said Otieno introduced Careen Chepchumba to him as his “cigar manager, who will, henceforth, be handling his stock.”
Ngumi further told the court that a week to Careen’s death, she had ordered a box of 20 sticks of Davidov Cigars valued at $310 (Ksh31, 000) and promised to send the money via M-Pesa which she never raised.
“Careen Chepchumba never paid the money. She would give excuses time and again. At one time, she claimed to have been admitted in hospital,” Ngumi said.
Upon seeing that Chepchumba was avoiding debt settlement, he phoned Louis Otieno and asked him to pay off his arrears, a move which angered Chepchumba, Ngumi told the court.
“She never wanted Louis to know that she was unable to pay the debt,” said Ngumi.
Careen Chepchumba, a former Kenya Power employee, was found dead in February, 2012 in her apartment at Kilimani’s Santonia Court a day after she indicated to her parents that she wanted to ditch Otieno.
Chepchumba died from strangulation, an inquest into her death heard Monday.
Chief Government pathologist Johansen Oduor told magistrate Charles Ondieki that an autopsy showed that Ms Chepchumba bled in the eyes and neck muscles due to pressure applied on her neck by the assailant.
The inquest continues.