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Kenya

Waititu freed on Sh15mn cash bail and should not access county office

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu in court on July 29, 2019 when he was charged with corruption. Photo/CFM.

NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 30 – Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has been freed on a Sh15 million cash bail or a bond of Sh30 million and barred from accessing his office for the entire duration of his corruption case.

Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi has also ordered him to surrender his passports and ensure he does not contact witnesses lined up to testify against him in the Sh588 million corruption case.

“This Court will grant bail to the following accused persons and impose the following conditions: the first accused shall not access his office until this criminal case is heard and determined,” the magistrate ruled.

The order applies to county employees who are charged with awarding the Sh588 million tender irregularly as well as Waititu’s wife and Charles Chege and Beth Wangeci — two directors of Testimony Enterprises Limited–the company that was contracted to construct roads in the county.

“Equally accused persons who are employees of the County Government will not access their offices during the dependency of this case. The rest of the accused persons are also barred from setting foot in Kiambu County Offices pending this trial,” he said.

Waitutu’s lawyer Tom Ojienda has indicated that he will be appealing the decision, which he described as discriminatory and unconstitutional, a fact the magistrate disagrees with.

“I further do not agree that limiting the governors access to office is an affront to the Constitution, Principle on the Presumption to Innocence, for if it were to be the case then denying an accused bail or bond would be tantamount to finding them guilty yet there are many people in remand who have been denied bond and they continue to attend court for the trial of their cases,” he said, “”Imposing conditions that guarantee integrity of this trial cannot be an illegality.”

Waititu’s wife Susan Wangari was also released on a cash bail of Sh4 million or bond of Sh10 million.

The decision to bar Waititu follows a ruling issued last week by Justice Mumbi Ngugi who upheld a magistrate’s decision to bar Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine from office until a corruption case against him is heard and determined.

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Kasaine has since appealed the decision.

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