, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Migori Governor Okoth Obado on Monday denied involvement in the murder of Sharon Otieno, an expectant 26-year-old Rongo University student, whose body was found at a forest in Homa Bay on September 4.
Obado denied the murder charge when he was arraigned before Lady Justice Jessie Lessit of the Criminal Division following his arrest on Friday.
According to a charge sheet read to Obado by Justice Lessit, the Miguri County chief is accused of having murdered the university student contrary to Sections 203 and 2014 of the Penal Code, a crime that attracts a death sentence upon conviction.
“Any person who of malice aforethought causes death of another person by an unlawful act or omission is guilty of murder. Any person convicted of murder shall be sentenced to death,” the sections read.
Issuing directives following the plea on Monday, Lady Justice Lessit committed Obado to remand pending the hearing of his bail application at 3pm on Tuesday.
Justice Lessit declined a request from lawyers representing Obado to have their client held at the Gigiri Police Station instead of the Industrial Area Remand.
Lawyer Roger Sagana had taken issue with Obado’s detention for a period exceeding 24 hours contrary to Article 49 (f) of the Constitution.
The Article provides that arrested persons are brought before court, “as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than twenty-four hours after being arrested; or if the twenty-four hours ends outside ordinary court hours, or on a day that is not an ordinary court day, the end of the next court day.”
Sagana also submitted an affidavit by Obado in which the county chief sought release on bail on grounds that he was the sole breadwinner of his family.
Prosecution council Jacob Ondari however objected the application saying all suspects are equal before the law.
“The accused person had already taken a plea and therefore cannot be treated preferentially. He should be remanded like any other accused person,” Ondari told the court.
During the Monday morning proceedings prosecution indicated its intent to consolidate Obado’s case with those of his co-accused – among them his Personal Assistant Michael Oyamo.
Detectives probing Sharon’s murder had also arrested former Kanyadoto Member of County Assembly Lawrence Mula, and Migori County Clerk Caspal Obiero.
Obiero was linked to a car that was used in the Sharon murder plot after his wife said he had been on possession of the car during the period the crime is alleged to have been committed.
Obado’s personal bodyguard, Eliud Okoth Omondi, and taxi operator Jack Gombe are also in custody.
Obado who had admitted to having had an affair with the Rongo University student, was arrested by detectives working on the case on Friday last week, two days after the outcome of a DNA test that confirmed Obado as the father of the seven-month-old fetus.
Findings of a postmortem examination of Sharon’s body released on September 7 had indicated that the university student had succumbed to excessive bleeding having been stabled eight times, strangled and raped.
The findings prompted detectives to conduct a DNA test to establish the father of the unborn child as they prosecution quizzed Obado and co-accused persons to establish the motive of the murder.
Oyamo, Obado’s Personal Assistant, was the first person of interest to be arrested over the murder after Nation newspaper journalist Barack Oduor who had been abducted alongside Sharon named him.
Oduor had named Oyamo as the person who had invited him and the slain university student to a hotel from where the abduction plot is said to have been executed.
Oduor and Gombe have so far been earmarked as key witnesses in the murder case.