Arunga freed, Hellon faces charges

February 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Controversial Jazz maestro Joseph Hellon and five followers were on Monday arraigned in a Nairobi Court and charged with being members of unlawful society, the Finger of God Church.

Mr Hellon was accused alongside Quincy Zuma Timberlake, who is linked to former television news anchor Esther Arunga.

Others in court were Samuel Onyango, Fredrick Onyango, Vincent Onyango, Grace Njii and Veronica Agape Koteng\’o.

But the six through lawyer Harun Ndubi declined to plead to the accusations, saying the charge did not disclose any offence.

“The charge as framed does not disclose any offence.  It is illegal and I urge the court not to admit it,\’\’ he said.

The advocate told Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei that his clients had not committed any crime for the church to be declared illegal.

“There is nothing wrong they have done for the church to be considered unlawful,\’\’ he argued.

He explained that the church was registered back in 2002 adding they have a right to worship and associate as they wished.

Mr Ndubi claimed that the investigation officer had continued to detain the registration certificate “in order to deny accused persons justice\’\’.
But the prosecution asked Mr Mutembei to disregard the objections and admit the charge saying the information contained therein was sufficient and discloses an offence as provided and the Criminal Procedure Code.

“Your honour I urge the court to disregard the objections raised by the defence lawyer. It is clear from the particulars of the charge that there is an offence committed by the accused persons and I urge you to admit the charge so that they can answer to the charges,” Superintendent C K Towett urged the court.

The accused were remanded in custody until Tuesday when Mr Mutembei will decide whether to dismiss or admit the charge against them.

If found guilty, the court heard, the accused could serve a one year jail term or pay a fine of not more than Sh5 million.

The accused were arrested on Sunday over their involvement in a religious organisation with suspicious background.

The activities of the church have been in the public limelight after the former KTN news anchor Ms Arunga ditched her work and joined the church.
Police raided Mr Hellon\’s house in Gigiri at 2am on Sunday and arrested the two and other followers of the controversial Finger of God ministry based in Nairobi\’s Runda estate.

The suspects were locked up in various police stations in Nairobi. Ms Arunga who spent Sunday night at Muthaiga police station was released on Monday morning on a police bond.

 According to police sources, she might be used as a prosecution witness in the case.


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