(Continued from Poisoned Chalice III)
Martin is rushed to court late in the afternoon. The prosecutor, at the urging of his friend the OCS, drafts charges of corruption and abuse of office. At 5.17 pm, Martin appears before the Hon. Alex Elepa, Chief Magistrate, who has suddenly surfaced at the court station.
The complainant is PCEA Karanga Presbytery, the sponsor of the hospital, led by Rev. John Miriti. Martin’s lawyer, Eric Nkanabo, makes a passionate plea for bail. The magistrate denies it. He gives Martin a mention date three months away and does not schedule a hearing date.
Nkanabo assures Martin that he will appeal the bail ruling, but it will take a few days, even weeks, to get a decision. At the very least, he will spend the weekend in remand because today is Thursday. Nkanabo will file an appeal at the High Court tomorrow but he does not expect a ruling until Monday, or even later. So he advises Martin to brace himself for life in jail. A police van picks Martin up and takes him to Karanga prison where he will be remanded.
The Moderator of the 41st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, the Right Reverend Gerald Saat is a pleasant old man who is well respected among the men of the cloth. Rev. Saat is on his final term as the Moderator and will retire during next year’s sitting of the General Assembly. He is set to retire from the Church he has served as a parish minister for thirty-six years, and as the Moderator for five. He is looking forward to retirement.
He is in his office when his secretary informs him that he has a call from Peninah Ndeke. He knows Peninah very well. Early in his days as a parish minister, he served in Karanga Parish. He watched as Peninah transitioned from a teenager to a young woman. He even officiated her wedding to Martin Ndeke, a young man in the parish. Her father, Geoffrey Kiambati, was an elder at Nchuguni church, one of the churches in Karanga parish.
Over the years he has kept in touch with the family and has been especially proud of Martin and Peninah. They have managed to rise in their careers while keeping their family unit intact and remaining faithful to God and the church. That is why he has been very troubled by the reports about Martin.
“Hello my daughter,” he says after picking the call.
“Hello Reverend. It has been a while since we last spoke,”
“Yes, it has. How are you doing?”
“Not well. By now I am sure you have heard,”
“Yes, but I find it difficult to believe all those things they are saying about Martin,”
“He did not do it, Reverend. I was there. I caught them in a compromising situation, but he was not forcing her. And now there are new charges against him,”
“Yes. Martin has just been charged with corruption and abuse of office charges. Now that is an outright lie Reverend. Martin has always been very open about his transactions in the hospital. He gives monthly reports to the parish and Presbytery leadership. Besides, the hospital has prospered under his watch. Someone just wants to nail him,”
“It is okay, Peninah. I will see what I can do. May your heart be at peace.”
Rev. Saat picks his phone and calls the Director of Criminal Investigations, an old friend of his. He updates him on Martin’s tribulations and Peninah’s suspicions. The DCI agrees to send a special team of investigators to Karanga.
The team that is sent is led by a veteran investigator called Obadiah. They arrive in Tharaka Nithi early on Friday morning and start working immediately. They spend the morning interviewing everyone even remotely related to the Martin saga. Peninah, junior police officers, Martin himself, hospital staff…everyone. Obadiah does not leave loose ends. He and his team move methodically, building a case slowly.
By midmorning, it becomes clear to Obadiah that Patricia is the woman to watch.
When Patricia learns that there are investigators from Nairobi who want to interview her, she panics. They arrive at her home in the afternoon. She is interviewed at her house because she is off duty. After her interview, she tells Obadiah that she wants to speak to him privately. Obadiah asks his men to leave. Patricia pitifully narrates to him how Martin attempted to rape her. Then she sits closer to him and starts sobbing while laying her head on his shoulder.
Obadiah flinches but does not move. She then takes his hand and gently tucks it under her blouse. Obadiah’s body starts to respond. He knows he should pull away but he wants to see where this will lead. She kisses him lightly on the lips.
“You can have this body if you just file a report saying Martin is culpable of all the things he is accused of,”
“If he did them, I will find out and file the report,” Obadiah replies.
“Don’t be stubborn. It doesn’t matter whether he did them or not. Just do what I am saying and I will take you to places your wife can’t,”
Obadiah pulls away from her. His body is aching for her but he is a disciplined professional.
“Martin will be free soon. I can’t say the same about you though,” he says coldly.
“And what will you say I have done?”
“Obstruction of justice to start with. You just tried to bribe me with sex. Under the revised Penal Code that is an offense that carries a minimum sentence of 15 years,”
“You can’t prove it. And I can always say you tried to rape me, just like I did to that fool Martin. Everyone will believe me because I am a woman.”
Obadiah points to a small camera on the bookshelf.
“My men put that there as they left. So now I have you on tape trying to bribe me with sex and also admitting that you framed Martin.”
At the urging of Obadiah and his team, the prosecutor withdrawals all charges against Martin. The prosecutor knows the charges are flimsy to begin with, plus he wants to please Obadiah. The application for the withdrawal of Martin’s charges is placed before the Hon. Diana Lete, a Resident Magistrate at Karanga law courts. She is the only Magistrate still at the court grounds. The rest have left for the weekend.
She allows the application, setting Martin free.
After the DCI officers leave her house, Patricia quickly calls Magistrate Alex. She is panicking. Alex assures her that they are safe.
“Relax Patricia. The DCI officers are only investigators. Even if they charge with anything, which they won’t, the charges will be brought to my court and I will set you free.”
“I am scared Alex,”
“When are you coming over? My wife is still away and will be away the whole weekend. I can help you relax,”
“I will come in the evening”.
Reverend Miriti calls her minutes later. He has finished doctoring the hospital’s books of accounts, and he has already written the letter firing Martin as the CEO of the hospital. It will be approved by a special session of the Presbytery that will sit on Monday. On Monday evening Martin will be jobless.
“Can you meet me at Highway Court Hotel this evening darling? I can’t wait to hold you in my arms,”
Patricia rolls her eyes. She kissed him yesterday afternoon in his office and allowed him to caress her briefly. She promised him her body if he nailed Martin. He worked like lightning and got Martin arrested. The things men, even Men of God, can do for sex.
Magistrate Alex answers a knock on his door quickly. He is expecting Patricia. Instead, he comes face to face with Obadiah and his men.
“What can I do for you gentlemen?”
“You are under arrest for abuse of office…”
Alex is stunned.
“You do not have any proof of that,”
“We have taped your conversations with Dr. Patricia for the last six hours. We know enough,”
“You can’t eavesdrop anyone’s conversations without a court order,”
Obadiah waves a paper at the Magistrate.
“We got this from the High Court in Chuka yesterday,” he says smugly.
They quickly arrest and walk him to the waiting Landrover, borrowed from Chuka Police Station, where they will be detained. Karanga Police Station will be too familiar territory for them. Inside the Landrover, Alex meets Patricia, the OCS and Reverend Miriti.
“Your boyfriends are all here now, Daktari. I am sure you will all have lots of fun in the cells over the weekend,” Obadiah tells Patricia smugly, and his men laugh. The Reverend lowers his head.
After delivering his suspects to the cells, Obadiah calls his boss and gets the contacts of the CEO of National Patriot TV.
“I am Inspector Obadiah, investigating the harassment of Karanga Hospital CEO. I know about you and Dr. Patricia,” he tells the stunned journalist. “Dr. Patricia is in the cells as we speak, and I am coming for you. Unless of course, you do what I say,”
“And what would that be?”
Obadiah looks at his watch. 5.45 pm.
“I want you to change the lead story of today’s 7PM and 9PM bulletins. Martin is free and his persecutors are in the cells. I want that to be the lead story. I will text you the contacts of one of my assistants. Get one of your journalists to call him and get that story ready,” Obadiah says and hangs up.
He then drives to Peninah’s house. The house is full of tension, and Geoffrey is pleading with his daughter to give her husband the benefit of doubt.
“He is lying, dad. No woman throws herself at a man. He must be the one who led her on and that is why she is so bitter and getting her revenge against him. She was pained because he left her high and dry and followed me yesterday. Maybe he had even told her he is divorcing me,” Peninah says.
Obadiah knocks and the conversation dies. Martin lets him in.
“Inspector, how can we help you?”
“There is something you should all see,”
He plays the video of Patricia seducing him, and they are all shocked.
“Madam, sometimes women do the chasing. I have never met this woman before today. Give your husband another chance,” Obadiah tells Peninah.
He looks at his watch. 7.01 pm. He takes a remote from the table and switches on the TV. The lead story is about Martin’s release and the arrest of his tormentors. He smiles. He did not have anything to arrest the TV CEO for, but sometimes threats work wonders. In any case, he has just given the man a juicy, exclusive story about an OCS, a magistrate and a clergyman, all who abused their offices to help their shared girlfriend persecute her boss because, wait for it, he refused to sleep with her. In fact, the station and its CEO should be grateful.
“I have to go now,” he says, bidding the three family members goodbye.
He walks away with a satisfied smile. He has just saved an innocent’s career, freedom, reputation and marriage. This is why I joined the Directorate, he tells himself.
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