Kenyan Techie Contracted to Work in Ethiopia Dies in Jail amid Diplomatic Fails

The government has issued a statement regarding the issue

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Yesterday, Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru brought to light an issue that had been ongoing for more than two years. The story is that of a Kenyan contracted to go install Ethiopia a VSAT Satellite in Jijiga by his employer BSS Limited. He died in an Ethiopian hospital after being jailed for 20 months after being accused of committing a “telecommunication fraud.” See below the Facebook update by Sam Gichuru.

Dear Kenyan Techie’s,

As most of you know, we have been seething with anger the last couple of days, for those who don’t know why… this is why.

This guy in blue is Zak, he is a Kenyan engineer, a good techie, an amazing Dad and a very nice guy.

He was assigned by his company a job in Ethiopia, He arrived on 9th Jan 2015, he was arrested on 10th, the next day for by the Ethiopian Govt and accused of “telecommunication fraud”, Zak had barely worked since he had just landed. No evidence was ever presented against him.

The Employer and Friends tried to get in-touch with the Kenyan Ambassador to Ethiopia Mrs Catherine Mwangi and she was nowhere to be found for close to 2 years, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “Ethiopia is a difficult country”, Ministry of ICT… oh well.

Zack is back home from prison, after 20 months, in a coffin. He died in an Ethiopian Jail… and we could do nothing about it.

We are angry…. you should be to. Share and let this Government know we are Angry.

RIP Zak Muriuki

According to a press release issued by the Kenya Government, the Engineer, Zakayo Muriuki Gatimu was arrested walking out of the compound of the client who had contracted his employer. Another Kenyan Engineer Mr. Jedrick Mugo together with a Mr. Ali Basir were alo arrested on the same date in the same area. The release goes to futher indicate that circumstances of the death of Zakayo are not clear although we have learnt from other sources that he could have died of multiple illnesses including Menengitis while in Jail. It also mentions thatthe employer of both Zak and Jedrick BSS Limited “may still need to present information that the Ethiopia government needs.”

The others that Zak was arrested with remain in Ethiopian jail while the Kenyan government has assisted the family to bring the body back home for funeral arrangements.

Below is the full press release:

It was with deep regret that we received the news last Sunday, of the death of Mr. Zakayo Muriuki Gatimu, in an Ethiopian hospital. The Ethiopian authorities arrested the late Zakayo Muriuki Gatimu on 10th January, 2015, in Jijiga, Ethiopia. He was arrested walking out of the compound of the client who had contracted his employer company, BSS Ltd, to install a VSAT Satellite in Jijiga. Jijiga is about 381 miles East of Addis Ababa near the Somalia boarder. On the same date, another Kenyan, Mr. Jedrick Mugo (Radio Frequency Engineer of Space Engineering Company alongside a Mr. Ali Basir was also arrested in the same region of Jijiga. The Government has been aware of the imprisonment of Mr. Muriuki in Ethiopia, and our Embassy in Addis Ababa has been engaged with both his family and the Government of Ethiopia in a bid to resolve the case and have Mr. Muriuki and his colleague return home. We can confirm that investigations to establish the circumstances of his death are underway and we have been assured of full cooperation from the Ethiopian authorities.

At this time, our primary concern is with the family of Zack Muriuki, who we have been assisting to repatriate the body. We will continue to stand with them as arrangements for the funeral are finalized. We express sincere condolences to the family and assure them of continued government support at this difficult time. Government remains engaged in efforts to secure the release of Mr. Muriuki’s colleague, Mr. Jedrick Mugo. We continue to urge their employers to come forth with critical information needed by the Ethiopian Government to shed more light into the case. Their continued silence threatens to cripple the Embassy’s efforts to secure Mr. Mugo’s release. Government would like to issue a cautionary reminder to citizens living in foreign countries, especially those which are politically volatile and conflict prone, to maintain the highest levels of vigilance. It is incumbent on Kenyans living abroad to be cognizant of laws in those countries and make every effort to observe them. The liberties enjoyed under the Kenyan constitution are not standard across board. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always at hand to advice Kenyans considering or pursuing opportunities outside the country. They are able to advise citizens on appropriate pre-cautionary measures to take, laws to observe, and avenues to pursue for assistance in the event of certain possible eventualities.

Citizens worldwide are always in better standing seeking such guidance before leaving their home countries. This places Government in a better position to adequately assist Kenyans who find themselves in difficult, dangerous or compromising situations while in a foreign country.

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