MUSLIM leaders in Nakuru County have disowned and disassociated themselves from a cleric who was found guilty of a child sex tourism offence. The cleric of Bilal

Muslim Mission identified in Court documents as Sheikh Ali Samoja was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking a minor to Nairobi. While in Nairobi Sheikh Ali Samoja, a former headteacher at Bilal Muslim Mission in Nakuru handed over the minor to a Lebanese national Sayyid Murtadha who allegedly defiled her repeatedly as they awaited to relocate to Lebanon. The offence was committed on unspecified dates in July 2012. Speaking in Nakuru, Muslim leaders led by the Rift Valley Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya(CIPK) Chairman Sheikh Muhiddin Sambul denounced the cleric terming his actions un-Islamic and unhuman, stressing that the purported cleric is not a member of Sunni Imams and CIPK. The leaders applauded the court’s decision of safeguarding the rights of vulnerable groups in the country. Resident Magistrate Judicaster Nthuku said the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the teacher betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the girl’s parents.

“To deter others in the society from committing similar offences, the court hereby sentences accused to 10 years in jail,” she said. According to court  documents, Samoja committed the offence in July 2012 at the Muslim mission in Nakuru’s Freehold estate. Samoja told the court that it was due to financial constraints in the girl’s family that he had offered to assist her by linking her to the Lenanese who was to offer her a job in Lebanon. The court also heard that the Muslim cleric arranged for the travel of the minor to Nairobi from where she was supposed to be taken to Lebanon. A medical examination report presented in court by Dr Justus Nondi of the Rift Valley General hospital in Nakuru indicated that the minor may have been defiled. The court heard that Samoja was arrested while planning to travel to Lebanon after the racket was unearthed. In mitigation, the accused pleaded for leniency from the court, saying he was the sole breadwinner of a young family. however, the magistrate said she had considered the accused’s mitigation and that the court was lenient enough to sentence him to 10 years. The court allowed the accused 14 days to appeal the sentence.

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