Don Bosco Gichana Photo:Courtesy

The man who donated the much-hyped Hummer to Raila Odinga during his 2007 General Election campaigns has been cooling his heels at Kongolea Prison since April, 2013.

Controversial businessman, Don Bosco Gichana, who is also wanted by the US over alleged money laundering, has been at the now renamed Arusha Main Prison, for two years, prompting Kisii residents to send a petition to Tanzanian authorities for his release or extradition.

Over 8,000 members of the Free Don Facebook page have been spearheading an online campaign for his release. Gichana, who unsuccessfully vied for the Kitutu Chache South parliamentary seat on a People’s Democratic Party ticket in 2013, was charged with 12 counts of forgery, including altering documents jointly with a Tanzanian, Boastice Mwale, for money laundering.

He allegedly committed the offence on separate dates between November 2009 and August 2010 in Nairobi. Mwale, a lawyer by profession, has been behind bars since 2011.

In April 2013, Don was charged in the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court with money laundering and conspiracy before senior resident magistrate Emilius Mchauru. He was not allowed to respond to the charges because the court lacked the jurisdiction to preside over the case.

Later in October 2013, the Kisutu court withdrew charges against him. Tanzanian Senior State Attorney Tumaini Kweka said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had no intentions of proceeding with the case and asked the court to drop the charges. Don was however re-arrested immediately.

Since then, however, the case has never been heard. The prosecution had lined up 42 witnesses against Don and his co-accused, but has not had any of them take the stand.

Don stayed in jail for two years before his charges were read to him in 2015. This happened after an extra-ordinary meeting that cited intimidation of lawyers handling the case. Details of the case were published in Tanzanian newspapers.

His distressed father, John Gichana, told The Nairobian that he has been knocking many doors for assistance in vain.

“I saw my son in 2013. This has affected my wife and I immensely due to our old age,” he explained. He said that he even visited his area MP’s office but was not able to get an audience with him. The distraught father said that despite having mingled with powerful individuals, his son has been abandoned in his time of need.

“Let them bring him to a Kenyan court or prison, since the case has changed so many times in Tanzania to the point of losing credibility,” he said.

Gladys Moraa, Don’s sister, laments that, “Politicians have given us a hostile reception whenever we approach them for help.” She says that Don’s children have no clue where he is as “we told them he was on a business trip. We are all suffering.”

Don’s cousin, Richmond Rayore, told The Nairobian that he has been visiting Tanzania, but fears the worst because Tanzanian police are now allegedly intimidating and threatening the relatives and friends. According to Richmond, the Principal State Attorney Oswald Tibabyekomya explained that, “The government had no money to get witnesses via video link for the case, and that was the reason the case was not proceeding.”

“Don was arrested in 2013. We had to complain severally to have his case heard in the High Court since he is a foreigner,” said Richmond, adding that, “Two years later, they read his plea. That doesn’t happen even locally. Now they are telling us they have no money for the case and that we should just wait.”

Rayore told The Nairobian that he visited the DPP’s office several times and was only told that the matter was being worked on.  “…We have begged for extradition and they said it is only our government that can request for his extradition,” lamented Rayore.

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