The driver of Kitui Deputy Governor Wathe Nzau caused a scene moments before he abandoned his boss by ramming into the gates of a hotel in Mwingi town, damaging the car’s front bumper.
After the 4pm incident at Legacy Hotel, the driver identified as Anthony Kang’oti who had been deployed to his office only a month earlier switched off his mobile phone and vanished.
Dr Nzau, who was in the company of his Makueni counterpart Adelina Mwau, had gone to have late lunch at the hotel after attending joint requiem mass for 10 pupils of St Gabriel’s Boarding Primary School at St Joseph’s Seminary in Mwingi.
The students died in an accident near Mwingi town last week while coming from a school trip in Mombasa.
When he emerged after lunch, Dr Nzau was shocked to learn his driver had abandoned him and disappeared with his official car, a dark grey Toyota Prado TX, but was hopeful that the driver had rushed to pick something in town.
“Around 8pm, I notified the police who went round the town searching for the car but they didn’t find it,” Mr Wathe told the Informer on Monday, adding he had to look for alternative means to Kitui town.
He said the driver remained unreachable on his mobile phone until the following day when his signal was first traced around Tea Room in Nairobi before it went off again.
Later on Friday evening, the driver’s phone signal was traced to Bamburi in Mombasa but it was unclear whether he had used the county government vehicle to travel there.
Kitui County Police Commander Antony Kamitu said they circulated the car details to police stations countrywide as a manhunt for the driver was launched.
“We were monitoring his movements though his phone which he used to switch on and off until we found him and arrested him at Kiembeni in Mombasa,” Mr Kamitu said.
The police commander said the driver was found drunk, moment after the car was recovered abandoned in Likoni and was immediately put in custody waiting to be escorted to Kitui to face charges of misusing a government vehicle.
County transport officer Thomas Kioko said the search for car took longer because it did not have a tracking device.
Police are also questioning the driver to establish why he abandoned his boss.