“Juliet’s Family Never Got Cash For Funeral”, Court Told In Stockholm

 Kenyans fund Raising for Juliet Kavinga In Stockholm        The Late Juliet Kavinga

The family of the late Kenyan lady, Juliet Kavinga, is demanding cash totaling to 35.000 kr (350.000 Kenyan shillings) because they “borrowed money” to transport Juliet’s body to Kenya and the bill needs to be sorted out. Addressing the Court on Monday November 6th at Handen in the outskirts of Stockholm city, Pia Tuling, Juliet’s family representative in the on going murder trial of Juliet’s former boyfriend, said that the family hired cars and paid for mortuary charges in Kenya together with other expenses which, they say, needs to be paid up.

According to police investigations, Juliet, who was seven months pregnant, was murdered on 13th May 2005 then her body dumped at Lake Mälaren in Ekero in the outskirts of Stockholm. The body was found floating at Lake Mälaren in August this year.

Pia Tuling gave a break down of expenses the family wanted refunded by the Court. These included cash that was paid to Fidelia AB (a funeral agency) for transporting Juliet’s body to Kenya at 17.800 kr. The team that is representing the family is demanding over 60.000 kr (600.000 Kenyan shillings) in professional fees and other expenses incurred in the process of representing Juliet’s family in the case.

After Juliet’s burial, Pia Tuling traveled to Kenya “to evaluate” the family’s economic situation. During her stay in Kenya, she met Juliet’s sister (Susan) and discussed the issue of compensation. Pia Tuling told the court that Juliet used to send money to Kenya at least twice a year and that the last time she sent cash, the amount was 12.000 kr (Ksh 120.000).

A witness of African origin who lived with Juliet in the same flat and who was the last known witness to have spoken with Juliet on 13th May 2005 told the court that 3-4 months after Juliet disappeared, he removed Juliet’s belongings from her room and transferred them to the Källare (an underground bunker). After Juliet’s body was recovered, police seized her belongings from the bunker and recovered between 70.000-80.000 kr (700.000-800.000 Kenyan shillings) hidden amid clothes and other belongings.

In arguing her case for compensation, Pia Tuling said that the average wage in Kenya is about 1.000 kr (Ksh 10.000) and that under the circumstances, the 35.000 kr which the family borrowed to pay for funeral expenses was huge. The Court heard that the family paid cash to the Church which transported Juliet’s body to her home village where she was buried.

Apart from the funeral expenses, the family is seeking compensation of 50.000 kr (500.000 kr) for the loss of Juliet’s life while they also want cash that was recovered from Juliet’s property to be surrendered to them.

A lawyer who has analyzed the case told KSB that it is possible that cash which was used in funeral expenses will be paid by the court but added that it is unlikely that the family will be paid any compensation because of the loss of Juliet’s life. He said that according to the Swedish law, Juliet was not economically attached to the family back in Kenya and that for this reason, the question of economic compensation for the loss of her life does not arise.

Revelations in Court that there is a bill the family needs to sort out in relation to transportation of Juliet’s body to Kenya and burial expenses will surprise many Kenyans and friends who contributed 48.000 kr (480.000 Kenyan shillings) to help transport Juliet’s body to Kenya. Fidelia, the company which transported the body, was paid 17.800 kr while the balance was sent directly to Juliet’s mother via Western Union. The “Juliet Committee in Stockholm” which raised cash for burial expenses does not feature in the case.

After a fund raising , a section of the Juliet Committee members raised concerns that they did not know the whereabouts of cash that was raised by Kenyans to transport Juliet’s body to Kenya. When an emergency Committee meeting was called to discuss the matter, it emerged that cash had actually been sent to Juliet’s family and that the reason why some Committee members were unaware that cash had been sent was because there had been a “communication breakdown”. The Treasurer of the Juliet Committee, Mr. Silas Njuguna, produced documents that showed that cash had been sent.

A report that was filed at Kenya Stockholm Blog about the meeting read in part: “The Treasurer said that money had already been sent to Juliet’s mother as had been agreed at an earlier meeting while he also said that Fidelia AB, the company that transported Juliet’s body to Kenya, had also been paid”.

The report continued: “According to documents produced by the Treasurer, 277.732 Kenyan shillings was sent to Juliet’s mother Mrs Agnes M. Kikanga Kavinga through Western Union while Fidelia AB was paid 17.800,50 Kr. Cash that was paid to Fidelia was a special discount rate and not the normal Fidelia price. A document that was faxed from Nairobi to the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm dated September 15th 2006 and signed on behalf of Juliet’s mother, Agnes, indicated that she received Ksh 277,732”.

A witness told the Court that when he last saw Juliet, she was in the kitchen and that Juliet told her that there was something she wanted to discuss with him. The witness was on his way to the shop and he told the Court that when he came back, Juliet was not in the house. She never saw her again. The hearing continues.

Okoth Osewe: makosewe@gmail.com