Claims of FBI Cover-Up Emerge at Inquest Into US Priest's Death

By Stephen Mbogo | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Nairobi, Kenya ( - The brother of an American missionary killed in Kenya has told an inquest that the FBI falsely attributed the death to suicide in a bid to protect Washington's strategic military relations with the East African country.

Francis Kaiser, 73, told a court in the town of Naivasha that an FBI report which backed the Kenyan police assessment that Father Anthony Kaiser had killed himself three years ago, had been politically-motivated.

"The suicide theory was brought about so that the status quo of the two countries is maintained," he said.

Kaiser's death in August 2000 was considered highly suspicious in Kenya and further afield.

Religious and political leaders called it an "assassination" of a priest who had uncovered corruption and other unlawful activity by senior members in the administration of former president, Daniel arap Moi.

After a change of government early this year, the investigation was reopened and the authorities ordered an official inquest.

The body of the 67-year-old priest, a Mill Hill missionary originally from Minnesota, was found along a remote road near Naivasha, with a bullet wound to the head and a rifle lying alongside him.

Francis Kaiser told the inquest that at the time of Kaiser's murder, the U.S. was using the Kenyan port of Mombasa for security purposes and had other military relations with Kenya seen as critical to U.S. national security.

Concerns about jeopardizing those strong military relations lay behind the FBI report, he claimed.

The dead man's brother said the FBI had never contacted him for background information on the priest despite the fact he was the eldest son in the family. The FBI had interviewed his sister.

Kaiser also dismissed a report by a Kenyan psychiatrist that said Kaiser had suffered from mental depression.

He told the inquest that he and his brother had related well since their childhood, and that Anthony had never suffered from depression.

Before he died, Kaiser had written to his family in the U.S saying he would be joining them for the following summer holidays, his brother said.

In the same letter, Kaiser had asked his family to pray for the Kenyan administration, specifically for a government minister whom he accused of sexual and other crimes, including inciting "mass murder."

Kaiser, who lived in Kenya since 1968, accused senior government figures of instigating bloody tribal clashes for political gain.

Earlier, the inquest heard that the priest had in the latter stages of his life expressed concern to several colleagues and others about threats against his life and the fear he was being followed.

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