A Baringo county staff member on Tuesday narrated to a Kabarnet court how a former chief officer of health (CO) threatened to kill her for allegedly withholding a letter.
Salome Chelimo, director of administration and planning in department of health, told the packed and hushed court how she received threatening phone calls from her boss, Dr Gideon Toromo, who said that he was going to kill her within an hour.
“Dr Toromo called me and inquired why I had withheld a letter he had written,” Without provocation, he started calling me names, you are silly, stupid. I tried explaining myself but he continued with the outbursts,” she said.
Salome said she was in Naivasha attending a meeting when she received a phone call from the accused, who has since been transferred to Ministry of Health headquarters, accusing her of hiding the letter he had written, a letter meant to transfer her alleged boyfriend.
“I later spoke to my colleagues, Mary Panga (CEC Health) and David Cherop (CO Health) who promised to inform the governor what had transpired,” Salome said.
The lady was testifying in a case in which Dr Toromo has been charged that on November 10, last year, at around 11.42am, without lawful excuse, sent Ms Chelimo a threatening text message through her husband’s phone, Wesley Tomno with the words “tell your wife, I either die or she dies, I have been called names, this time round somebody must go six feet, mbegu mbaya itatolewa.”
“The doctor faced a second count where he is accused that on the same day at around 11.50am, he threatened Chelimo by texting the County Commissioner, Henry Wafula, with the words, “I beseech you in the name of the Almighty God to arrest for me these two ‘Arrors’ Joel Chongwo (a health officer) and Salome, otherwise my trained hit squad boys will kill them before Friday.
The former chief officer denied committing the offences before Senior Principal Magistrate Paul Biwot claiming that he is being accused wrongly.
She added that after a meeting on November 9, last year, at around 7pm while in town taking a cup of tea, Dr Toromo called and accused her of not picking his calls, “I told him I was in a meeting but said he was going to finish my boyfriend in less than one hour.”
“Dr Toromo then called my husband, Wesley Tomno with the words “tell your wife, I either die or she dies. I was really scared to go to my house and I became traumatized for a period of three weeks thinking he might come for me in my house and kill me,” she said.
Salome still shaken further told the magistrate that she contacted Ms Panga, County Secretary, Francis Komen and Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony who informed her to report the matter to police.
Immediately after reporting the matter to DCI offices, the complainant said the accused called saying “foolish woman, stupid’ as he used vulgar language. It was very embarrassing, he accused me of being an ‘Arror tribe’ that I am illiterate hence incapable to hold office, I should pack and go, I shared the matter with my colleague Joel Chongwo for he had also threatened him.
Wesley Tomno, working at the ministry of Health headquarters while testifying told the court that his wife called him on November 9, claiming that Dr Toromo had threatened her life.
“On November 9, last year, my wife called me after Toromo threatened to kill her, she was at our neighbours place, so I went there, tried to ask her to come home but she was so scared, she declined to go back home,” Tomno said.
Tomno said that Dr Toromo asked him to apologise to his wife on his behalf after he inquired of what was happening between the two.
“Later on, Toromo texted me saying he has the power to heal and kill like the doctors and has power to teach and cheat like teachers then said,’’ my wife will never work in Baringo’,” Tomno said.
On cross examination by defense lawyer, Solomon Chepkilot, each of the two witnesses stated that they had no recordings of the calls made and text messages.
“I pray that the court considers the examination of the phones being held in Directorate of Criminal investigation (DCI) I Samsung S 20 and Techno 2 that DCI had not released to his client,” lawyer Chepkilot said.
Prosecution Counsel Carol Muriu said that the phones are being held as exhibits and contains information used to prove the case.
“Releasing the phones will deal a huge blow to our case, we endeavour for next hearing date so that accused can get the phones after conclusion of the case, “Ms Muriu said.
Dr Toromo had been granted a bond of Sh 100,000 with one surety of same amount or a cash bail of Sh 30,000.
Magistrate scheduled the next hearing on March 2 when two other witnesses are expected to testify.
The doctor who had been embroiled in a tussle with the county government after being transferred to the National government had earlier faced a similar offence of threatening and assaulting a payroll manager.
Dr Toromo was then charged with two counts of threatening to kill contrary to section 223(1) of the penal code and assault causing actual bodily harm contrary to section 251 of the penal code.
Mr Chepkilot who represented the accused also in the first case before Resident Magistrate Viennah Amboko had prayed the court to grant his client reasonable bond terms stating that he was working with the county government and that he was not a flight risk.
The lawyer also disclosed that the accused suffers from a pre-existing medical condition and was still under medication and close supervision of a senior physician in Nakuru.
by Joshua Kibet