Cablegate: Child Abuse Case Headed for Probable Resolution


DE RUCNDT #2149/01 3172344
P 132344Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: USUN received a call from NYPD Saturday night
(11/11) that Kenya Mission to the UN Second Secretary
Fredrick Matwang'a had been temporarily taken into custody
for allegedly beating and causing injury to his nine-year-old
son at their Queens home. NYPD released Matwang'a once his
diplomatic status was confirmed. Both Matwang'a's son and
three-year old daughter were transferred to NYC'S
Administration for Children's Services (ACS) in protective
custody pending further assessment. On Monday (11/13)
Matwang'a and his wife, accompanied by Kenya MUN's DPR and a
legal afffairs officer, Karen Odaba-Mosoti, met at the
offices of the NYC Commission for the United Nations,
Consular Corps and Protocol(NYCC) with NYCC, ACS and USUN
officials. Matwang'a and his wife gave voluntary written
consent to the temporary removal of the children (without
waiving any privileges and immunities) until Wednesday
(11/15), at which time further action, based on the ACS
assessment, will be discussed. The New York Post has
reported two articles on the incident, which has been carried
by Associated Press and picked up by many other newspapers
and media outlets. USUN will keep Department informed of
further developments. End summary.

2. Matwang'a is alleged to have beaten his nine-year-old
son, Newton Lusambili, on the head with a wooden stick,
causing a laceration to his head, and to have chased him
through the house with a knife. Press reports indicate that
the child sought refuge with a neighbor, but upon not
receiving entry from the frightened neighbor, hid in an alley
behind the neighbor's house. The press accounts also state
that the boy's father appeared at the neighbor's door looking
for his son. The neighbor, not believing the father's calm
demeanor and also fearing for the boy's safety, directed the
father in an opposite direction and then contacted the
police. The police took the father into custody and took the
child to the hospital, where he was treated and released to
NYPD and transferred to the protective custody of NYC's ACS
along with his three year-old sister, Juliana Matwang'a.

3. USUN spoke with NYCC officials as well as with the Kenyan
Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Zachary Muita,
urging his Mission's full cooperation. ACS has decided to
allow the children to reside temporarily with Kenyan Mission
legal officer, Karen Odaba-Mosoti, on the understanding that
the father is to have no contact with either child pending
the results of an ACS assessment to be conducted between now
and Wednesday. The mother will be allowed to visit the
children at Ms. Odaba-Mosoti's residence, and pending the
results of the ACS assessment, may be allowed to reside with
Ms. Odaba- Mosoti after Wednesday. Mr. and Mrs. Matwang'a
signed an agreement, the text of which appears in paragraph 6
below. The agreement was drafted by NYC officials after the
Kenyan Mission expressed reluctance to sign the standard NYC
removal agreement on the grounds that the language appearing
within suggested that the family's immunities had been waived.

4. The New York Post article of November 13, 2006, and the
AP report both mentioned the possibility of NYC prosecuting
Mr. Matwang'a if Kenya lifts his immunity or of having him
expelled. New York City officials are not contemplating any
such step. The AP report has been disseminated widely in
newspapers and other media outlets.

5. Comment: Throughout discussions with the Matwang'a's and
the Kenyan Mission to the UN representatives, the USUN, ACS
and NYCC officials emphasized that the welfare of the
children was the paramount, overriding concern and that the
assessment undertaken is part of a process designed to unify
and strengthen families by providing a development plan
(e.g., counseling, anger management training, etc.) to bring
about a result that would enable there to be a safe, secure
environment for the children and parents to move forward.
USUN will keep Department informed of further developments.
End comment.

6. Begin text of the agreement -

Consent to temporary removal of children by the New York City
Administration for Children's Services

We, Caroline Matwanga and Fredrick Matwanga, being the
parents of Newton Lusambili and Jiliana Matwanga, understand
that the New York City Administration for Children's Services
(ACS) is temporarily removing our children from our place of
residence for the purpose of placing them im protective
custody. We consent to such removal and further understand
that this consent is temporary and remains in effect until
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at which point it will be
followed up with such further actions as are necessary for
the protection of the children. The voluntary consent is not

a waiver of privileges and immunities.

Signed and dated by both Caroline and Fredrick Matwang'a

End text

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