Swiss national jailed in Iten for taking athletes’ blood samples without license

Swiss national jailed in Iten for taking athletes’ blood samples without license

Joel Omotto 15:49 - 27.03.2024

A Swiss national faces over three years in jail, if he cannot pay a hefty fine, after pleading guilty to illegally taking blood samples from athletes at an Iten court.

A Swiss national has been ordered to pay Ksh400,000 or serve a jail sentence of over three years after pleading guilty to extracting blood from Kenyan athletes and carrying out illegal tests and unknown research.

According to Nation, Bassile Samuel David Moreillon, who was charged alongside Kenyan Geoffrey Kibet Bwambok, claimed to be a medical research student and admitted to charges filed against him before Iten Senior Principal Magistrate Emily Kigen.

He asked for leniency while begging for mercy, claiming that he was a “Research PhD student from Switzerland, carrying out research in partnership with Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi.”

Through his lawyer Edward Ruto, Bassile said he had learnt his lessons and promised to abide by the Ministry of Health Rules while in the country.

According to the prosecution, Bassile operated an illegal laboratory and extracted blood from both athletes and locals for unknown reasons without the necessary permits from relevant government agencies.

His co-accused Bwambok denied the charges and was released on a bond of Ksh600,000 with an alternative cash bail of Ksh300,000.

The court heard that the two were arrested by a crime detective officer from Iten Police Station after locals raised an alarm over their suspicious activities that saw those who accepted to donate blood samples paid Ksh1,000 each.

According to the charge sheet, the two faced five counts of illegal activities conducted between March 3 and 7, 2024 in Iten Township in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

The first charge was being found conducting scientific research by obtaining blood samples from athletes and non-athletes without a license, operating a private medical laboratory without approval and undertaking private practice as medical laboratory technologists at Run IX Athletes Camp in Keiyo South without a license.

The other count was handling medical reagents which had not been validated, handling invalidated laboratory equipment and engaging in private practice as medical laboratory technologist’s contrary to the law.

“This court notes that you have pleaded guilty to the offence at the first instance. You will therefore serve in jail two years imprisonment for count one, two months imprisonment for the second count, you will also serve for months for the third offence and lastly, serve one year in jail for the fifth count,” said Justice Kigen while imposing the fine, as per the outlet.

“In the alternative, you will pay a total fine of Ksh400,000 in default.”

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