Priest 'masterminded' murder


22/05/2006 21:25 - (SA)

Nairobi - Kenyan prosecutors said on Monday a local priest plotted the murder of a septuagenarian Italian bishop in northern Kenya last year in a row about cash donated to the diocese from well-wishers.

The accusation came as the prosecution opened its case in the trial of Father Waqo Guyo Malley and five others who are alleged to have shot and killed 77-year-old Bishop Luigi Locati in the Isiolo diocese he founded four decades ago.

"We will show that Father Malley was the mastermind of the plan to murder Bishop Locati," lead prosecutor Jacob Ondari told the high court in Nairobi, where the high-profile trial is being heard.

"There was very bad blood between the deceased and the priest," he said.

"We will show also that this animosity emanated from donor funds, which were being channelled through the diocese, and which (Malley) wanted to receive directly."

Malley, along with co-defendants Mohammed Molu Bagajo, Aden Ibrahim Mohammed, Mahati Ali Halake, Roba Balla Barichi and Mohammed Dika Wario, all face capital murder charges in connection with Locati's July 14 2005, slaying.

All six have pleaded not guilty in the murder.