, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – The High Court in Nairobi has declined to grant bail to a top Venezuelan official who was charged with the murder of his country’s ambassador to Kenya Olga Fonseca.
Justice Nicholas Ombija ruled that First Secretary Dwight Saragay should remain in custody until his case is concluded.
The judge said that Saragay is likely to collude with another suspect Ahmed Mohammed – who is still at large – and interfere with and intimidate witnesses.
At the end of July, Police released the pictures of Mohammed – a Kenyan doctor – after he was mentioned in the probe into the envoy’s death.
A warrant for the arrest of Mohammed was issued by the courts on July 31.
The hearing of the murder case is expected to commence in February 2013. Saragay pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering the envoy.
He has since applied for bail arguing that his studies in law at the University of Nairobi have been hampered by his detention.
He insisted that he was a law abiding individual who was ready to obey all directives given by the court.
However the prosecution through State Counsel Tabitha Ouya opposed his released arguing that Saragay who was a senior official at the Embassy was likely to intimidate witnesses most of whom are his juniors.
Saragay is set to argue out another application on November 12 in which he is challenging the jurisdiction of the Kenyan courts to handle the case.
He says that the waiver of his diplomatic immunity by the Venezuelan government which came after his arrest was invalid as he enjoyed immunity at the time of his arrest.
“The alleged waiver by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through its Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign relations; The department of the minister and the department of protocol Affairs was not express as required by Article 33 (2) of the Vienna convention on Diplomatic relations of 1961,” he argues in his petition filed by Rachier and Amollo advocates.
The 57-year-old Fonseca was found dead at her official residence in Runda on the morning of July 27.
She is suspected to have been strangled following a power struggle at the residence.
The late Fonseca had been staying at a hotel and had only moved to the embassy’s residence in Runda two days before she was killed.
Two guards who manned the gate of the slain Venezuelan ambassador were in July charged with committing a felony for failing to prevent the envoy’s death.
The two Bernard Owino and Eliud Kimutai who appeared before Chief magistrate Esther Maina however denied the charge and were released on a cash bail of Sh100,000 each.