, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Suspended Geothermal Development Company Managing Director Silas Simiyu and eight of his co-accused received a reprieve on Wednesday when the terms of their release were reviewed from cash bails of between Sh5 and Sh8 million to Sh1 million each.
Justice Jessie Lessit reviewed the bail downwards after finding that the defendants’ appeal had merit. She did not however delve into the reasons for her finding and said she would deliver the “substantive ruling” at a later date.
She directed the accused to appear before the High Court Deputy Registrar on Thursday at 10am for “confirmation of payment and further directions.”
Simiyu and his co-accused spent Tuesday night behind prison cells after Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali declined to revise his directive that Simiyu and suspended GDC Company Secretary Praxidis Saisi should pay a cash bail of Sh8 million each to secure their release pending their trial.
Simiyu and Saisi were charged alongside seven others on Tuesday for flouting procurement laws when they awarded a rig move services tender to Bonfide Clearing and Forwarding Ltd in 2012.
Their co-accused – Abraham Saat, Godwin Mwawongo, Nicholas Weke, Caleb Mbaya, Bruno Linyiru and Peter Omenda – were on the tender committee at the time. Michael Mbevi was the General Manager Drilling Operations.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has accused the six tender committee members of breaking procurement laws when they awarded the tender to Bonfide which charged Sh42 million per rig move while the prevailing market price was Sh15 million. An award that cost the Kenyan tax payer Sh1.7 billion given 40 moves were billed.
Mbevi, Simiyu and Saisi are charged with improperly conferring benefit to Bonfide by interfering with the evaluation of bids and influencing the tender award. Thereby, abusing their offices and breaching public trust; charges which they denied.
Arguing before Lessit, Simiyu’s advocate Abbas Esmail accused Bidali of being “unreasonable” in the setting of a Sh8 million cash bail for his client. He said it was “punitive” and a condemnation of his client before he was tried.
“The guidelines are clear. Bail is intended to be significant enough to deter accused persons from forfeiting it but not too high as to make it impossible for them to enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom before they’re found guilty or outside exceptional circumstances.”