NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 25 – Migori Governor Okoth Obado will Tuesday afternoon return to the High Court in a bid to persuade Lady Justice Jessie Lessit of the Criminal Division to release him on bail pending his murder trial.
Lady Justice Lessit Monday ordered Obado detained at the Industrial Area Remand Prison after he denied murdering Sharon Otieno, an expectant 26-year-old Rongo University student, whose body was found at a forest in Homa Bay on September 4.
Lady Justice Lessit declined Obado’s request to be held at the Gigiri Police station pending his bail application.
Obado’s application is premised on the right to bail under Article 49 (1) (h) of the Constitution which provides for the release of arrested persons, “on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless there are compelling reasons not to be released.”
Lawyer Roger Sagana has submitted an affidavit sworn by Obado in which the county chief sought release on bail on grounds that he was the sole breadwinner of his family.
Public Prosecutor Noordin Haji had in a statement Sunday indicated the decision to charge Obado with the murder was made after it emerged that the governor could have been unhappy with Sharon’s pregnancy which had resulted from an intimate relationship the two had.
A DNA test conducted on Sharon’s seven-month-old foetus confirmed Obado to be the father of the unborn child.
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 the DNA test.
Findings of a post-mortem examination released on September 7 had indicated that the university student had succumbed to excessive bleeding having been stabbed eight times, strangled and raped.
Obado became the second person to be charged with Sharon’s murder contrary to sections 203 and 204 of the Penal Code, an offence that attracts the death penalty 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.
His Personal Assistant Michael Oyamo has been charged with a similar crime in contravention of the same sections of the Penal Code.
Another aide of the county chief, Caspal Obiero, has been charged with aiding and abetting the commission of the murder, a crime for which he could be sentenced for up to 14 years in jail if convicted.
Obiero was said to have been in possession of his wife’s car which was used to abduct Sharon and a Nation journalist Barack Oduor who escaped and reported the matter to Kadel Police Patrol Base.
The investigation further indicated that the car’s tracking system had been switched off the day the murder occurred and reactivated the following day – September 4.
According to Haji, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) are pursuing the hitmen who acted with the three suspects who have so far been charged and other persons named in witness accounts.
So far, the DCI is probing former Kanyadoto Member of County Assembly Lawrence Mula, Obado’s personal bodyguard, Eliud Okoth Omondi, and taxi operator Jack Gombe.
Gombe was arrested after he was identified to the person who drove the vehicle used in the kidnapping of Sharon and the Nation newspaper journalist on the eve of the murder.
The newspaper reporter had told the police that four unidentified staged the abduction along Homa Bay Road.
According to the journalist, he in the company of Sharon had met Oyamo prior to the abduction.
Oduor and Gombe – the taxi driver – have so far been earmarked as key witnesses in the murder case.