Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Councillor flees from Kenyan jail hell
12:00pm Monday 11th June 2012 in News
A COUNCILLOR has returned to Basildon after fleeing Kenya, where he is facing trial for fraud.
Daniel Munyambu, who was elected as Labour councillor for Vange last year, has gone on the run claiming he has been set up for a crime he didn’t commit back in his homeland.
Mr Munyambu, 38, is now living in fear he could be extradited back to Kenya if agents for its Government seek him out.
Mr Munyambu revealed his extraordinary story to the Echo yesterday, and said he became a fugitive by jumping bail and travelling for two weeks across the African continent on public transport to try to avoid capture.
He claims he is being fitted up by corrupt officials and could end up dying in a “hellish” prison in Africa.
Mr Munyambu believes a political speech he made nine days before his arrest, coupled with his political career in Basildon, may be the reason for a plot to destroy his credibility, using a former business dispute to bring charges.
He said: “You have to understand how things work in my country. It is a police state and if you bribe the right person in the police or court, you can get what you want and destroy someone. That was happening to me.”
Mr Munyambu has been charged with three counts of fraud in connection with Clickett Traders, a 4x4 vehicle export business he ran from his home in Clickett End, Basildon.
Kenyan prosecutors allege he forged invoices for a Land Cruiser he never intended exporting to a Kenyan businessman to falsely obtain £15,800 from him, in November 2008.
Mr Munyambu vehemently denies any fraud and said the allegations stem from a dispute with the businessman, which should have been dealt with as a civil matter in the UK.
He was arrested on April 2 and remanded in prison the next day until April 10. His trial was set to take place in July.
He said: “The prison in Kenya was like hell. It was overcrowded, there were no beds, we had to share blankets and there were no windows. It was not habitable for a human. There were 70 people in one cell.”
He said he did not eat any food for fear of being poisoned and his family had to pay a sympathetic prison warden to buy food for him from a shop.
At a hearing on April 10, bail was given after two relatives put up surety, including a vehicle and land deeds.
He said: “When I was on bail, one of the court staff helped me. He told me they were trying to get a woman, who put up surety for me, to take it back so I went back on remand.”
He spent the next three days visiting relatives before leaving, but says he did not tell anyone, including his own mother, about his escape plan, which involved a 20-hour bus ride.
He said: “I was 50 per cent relieved when I left Kenya, but it wasn’t proper relief until I was on the flight back. When I got home in Basildon it was like being born again.”
Mr Munyambu claims there is a plot to destroy his credability ahead of any plans he has to stand for elections in Kenya.
He is also fearful for his safety now he is back in Britain.
He added: “They may try extradition, but there are people here working for the Kenyan Government who know where I am and could come here and do anything.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK does have extradition agreements with Kenya, but we would not comment on individual cases until an arrest was made.”