Court denies Mungiki leader freedom

July 31, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 31 – An attempt by the jailed Mungiki leader Maina Njenga to secure his release pending an appeal against a five-year jail term flopped Thursday, after the court rejected his application.

High Court Judge Justice Jackton Ojwang dismissed Njenga’s application to have his sentence suspended, pending an application that is already before the Court of Appeal.

Justice Ojwang said he was not inclined to lift the sentence, for which Njenga’s lawyer, Kibe Mungai had applied for orally.

He directed Mungai to file a formal application on the same and seek a fresh date from the High Court registry, based on priority basis.

Njenga is challenging the severity of his five-year imprisonment by the Senior Principal Magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka for illegally possessing a firearm and narcotics, a year ago.

He also argues that he lost his wife, Virginia Nyakio, in April who has not yet been laid to rest, and therefore wants to be released to bury her.

In his ruling, Justice Ojwang said that as much as it was evident that Njenga was incurring substantial cost with regard to his wife’s preservation at the morgue, he would not suspend the sentence.

The judge said the High Court would not wish to interfere with the case that is pending at the Court of Appeal.

Separately, the High Court has declined to revoke the appointment of new members to the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Council Board by Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama.

High Court Judge, Roselyne Wendoh has however allowed the aggrieved members to file judicial review proceedings challenging the Minister’s decision.

The NGO Coordination Board Wednesday moved to sue the Minister, claiming he had no powers to revoke or appoint new members.

In a gazette notice published last Friday, Ntimama revoked the appointment of Phoebe Otuka, George Wainaina, Anthony Kinyili, George Kodhek, Charles Waithaka, and David Osotsi.

Their term of office was to end in May, next year. In their place, he appointed Hassan Osman, Betty Okero, and Brigitte Kitenge.


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