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Swazuri to remain in custody until May 2 in bail review case

Swazuri has filed an application before Justice Mumbi Ngungi saying the amount was unreasonably high and should be revised downward/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Former National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri will remain in custody until Thursday next week when the ruling on an application seeking review of the Sh12 million cash bail imposed on him will be delivered.

Swazuri has filed an application before Justice Mumbi Ngungi saying the amount was unreasonably high and should be revised downward.

He argues that the cash bail or alternative surety bond of Sh30 million imposed by Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi was unjust, exorbitant and in contravention of Article 49 of the Constitution.

Besides the cash bail, the court also directed the accused persons to deposit their passports in court and never to contact any of the witnesses.

While releasing the accused persons on cash bail, Mugambi said the security to be provided by each of them should be that which not only guarantees their attendance during trial, but also ensures that it does not erode public confidence in the administration of justice.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has however opposed the application stating that the bail terms were reasonable.

Other than Swazuri, former commissioner Emma Njogu, former NLC Chief Executive Officer Tom Aziz Chavangi, Salome Munubi, Director Valuation and Taxation Francis Mugo, the Director of Finance and Administration at NLC and lawyer Catherine Wanjiru Chege were also ordered to deposit cash bail of Sh12 million to secure their release.

Businessman Samuel Rugongo was ordered to deposit Sh6 million or bond of Sh15 million to secure his release, while Sostemah Ogero Taracha was ordered to deposit Sh3 million in court.

Lilian Savai Kaverenge, Ms Evahmary Wachera and Michael Oloo were released on cash bail of Sh1.5 million.

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They spent the Easter holiday in custody after denying the charges last Thursday last week.

They denied more than 20 counts including corruption, abuse of office, financial misconduct, fraudulent acquisition of public funds and money laundering.

They were charged with jointly conspiring to commit corruption through the fraudulent payment of Sh109 million for alleged compulsory acquisition of land from Tornado carriers on behalf of Kenya National Highways Authority (KenHA).

Other than corruption, Swazuri denied abuse of office charges.

He is also alleged to have approved a second valuation yet the compensation for the land for expansion of road near the Port of Mombasa had been set at Sh34.5 million.

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