Former Mama Lucy Hospital social worker Fred Leparan was Wednesday sentenced to 35 years in jail for child trafficking and negligence.
His co-accused Selina Adundo, also a social worker, will serve two years non-custodial sentence for negligence or pay a fine of Sh100,000.
Senior principal magistrate Esther Kimilu said she had considered the mitigation and submissions by both parties before reading out the judgement.
She said she was satisfied that the aggravating circumstances to the commission of the offence, as a person who had worked for long in community service, he ought to have protected the children.
“He lacks empathy for there and was not remorseful,” the magistrate said.
The court further clarified that Leparan will only serve 25 years in custody and serve 10 years on probation under close supervision.
For the two convicts, the court cautioned that the two should not be subjected to any matter of children.
She ordered the children to be released for adoption.
The two were convicted of child trafficking and negligence after a BBC report exposed them two years ago.
The Court found that the prosecution proved their case against them.
Leparan and Adundo were convicted of child trafficking and negligence after a BBC report exposed them two years ago.
Leparan in his mitigation last week through lawyers Danstan Omari and Martina Swiga said he is a first-time offender and prayed for a non-custodial sentence.
Swiga said the court should consider his rehabilitation and restoration of justice.
The Court also heard that Leparan is a family man with children and he is a breadwinner having lost his father at a tender age.
“If given a non-custodial sentence, he will be able to reflect on the concluded trial so that he can be able to fit in society and support his family,” Swiga said.
Kimilu was also urged to be lenient and give orders for community service which includes unpaid public work.
Omari also raised concerns over the probation report which he said has contradictions that depict Leparan from different angles, especially on the family background.
In the report, Omari said the convict is from a polygamous family and the challenges being raised are difficult hence he lacked proper parental upbringing.
The psychologically poor background affects the children by generating hopelessness, Omari said. The economy is also to be blamed for the conviction.
Omari further said that his family defended the convict because of his dignity.
He is the first born of five siblings and all of his family depend on him. The financial burden of a firstborn depends on him.
“When Leparan was arrested, the mother believed he would be acquitted and has suffered mental challenges due to the case,” Omari stated.
Out of the conviction, the convict might lose his mother and the children might suffer. Kindly save the mother as the probation report recommends.
Leparan was said to be from the Masai community in Kilgoris where the school was not a priority. The Court was also informed that he is a self-made person, trained and went to Mount Kenya University for a certificate course in community health and HIV management.
“He has been interdicted for three years as his salary was retained. He never committed a crime but ventured into business and butchery.”
“He has three children who know that their father went to Nairobi to work….kindly don’t allow him to go to prison,” the lawyer pleaded.
The probation report, however, said he is not remorseful does not take responsibility and is quick to defend blame, claims Omari denied and said he is remorseful.
Omari said that Leparan as a social worker, has enabled thousands of children to get homes.
“BBC set a trap and induced the convict with money and he was desperate for finance he had to take the money,” he said.
Omari on behalf of the convict, gave sincere apologies to the victims who are now three years old.
Selina also prayed for a lenient sentence saying she is a first offender.
She said she has always attended court religiously and should be regarded as a person with a good reputation and passion for work.
She has two children and is the primary caregiver for her family.
The prosecution, however, asked the court to consider the recommendations from the probation officer who said Leparan had no empathy for the victims.
“Leparan does not comprehend the gravity of the offence as his character of being not remorseful,” the prosecution said.
“His character was played during his defence and in mitigation. He was not remorseful to the children and the public. Whether they are children, they are children of this country. Kindly render a judgement that will show that he should consider other people around him.”
The DPP added that the case of trafficking is rampant and urged Kimilu to issue a deterrence sentence.
The DPP prayed for a sentence of 30 years for Leparan and considered the recommendations of the Children Act when sentencing Adundo.
On September 6, Leparan was found guilty by the court of child trafficking.
Kimilu found that the elements of conspiracy were proven against Fred Leparan.
In her judgement, the magistrate said the prosecution proved that Leparan held three meetings in which the court concluded that the discussion in the meetings was for the sale of a child.
She added that a transaction happened at the meetings and one Rose was given three children.
“My determination is that the first accused (Leparan) is guilty of Conspiracy to commit a felony and count two of trafficking persons,” the magistrate ruled.
The second accused Selina was however acquitted on the two counts as she was not mentioned in any of the footage.
Adundo and Leparan were convicted on count three of the charge of Negligence.
The magistrate said that there was evidence that the office of the medical social worker at Mama Lucy Hospital did not inform Embakasi children’s home about the stolen babies.
She noted that a witness from Embakasi denied having been informed about the three abandoned children.
“In the normal process, the children home are supposed to be informed of any children being abandoned or received at the facility,” the magistrate said.
Leparan was also found to have abused his office by handing the children to persons who were not authorized.
This, the court ruled that it showed clearly that he was involved in the fraud of children and trafficking of the same.
In January this year, Leparan and Adundo were found with a case to answer.
During his defence, Leparan denied having received Sh 300,000 from a BBC journalist in the sale of babies at the facility. Leparan was facing three counts of child theft and a child trafficking syndicate at the hospital.
While giving his defence evidence, he informed the court all legal processes were followed in the allegedly abandoned three children at the Hospital.
He said he never engaged himself in the illegal sale of babies at the hospital.
During the trial, a journalist attached to an international media house narrated how he exposed a child trafficking scam at the Mama Lucy Hospital in Nairobi in 2020.
Peter Murimi, 42, of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) who testified virtually, explained how a social worker at the hospital, Fred Leparan, sold a baby boy to a childless woman at Sh300,000.