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Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi was first arraigned in court on Monday, April 6. During his appearance before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Ritah Amwai, on Thursday April 9 Saburi denied the charges/CFM

Capital Health

Kilifi DG charged with exposing public to COVID-19, bail ruling due April 15

MOMBASA, Kenya, April 9 – Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi was Thursday charged with an offence of exposing the public to an infectious disease after his arraignment over the violation of coronavirus quarantine rules.

According to the police, Saburi had on diverse dates between March 6 and March 22, 2020 within Kilifi County, while suffering from an infectious disease namely Covid-19, willfully and unlawfully without taking any precaution exposed himself to the public.

Appearing before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Ritah Amwai, Saburi denied the charges.

He will have to spend another six nights at the port police, after the magistrate adjourned an application to release him on bond.

Amwai said because of the nature of the case, she cannot rule whether the DG can be allowed back to the society yet.

She said Saburi must be tested for the virus and results tabled before the court before the court considers his application on for bail on Wednesday, April 15.

“Considering that the matter we are dealing with is generally new to us, and that it involves an infectious disease. We need to involve medical experts and get the medical reports of the suspects before making a ruling on bond terms.”

Before the charge was read against Saburi, his lawyer George Kithi had accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and the DPP Noordin Haji of interfering with the case.

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Kithi said President Kenyatta on Monday said that he had personally ordered for the arrest of Saburi and wished that he should be jailed for ten years.

“My client was arrested not because he had committed an offence, but because the President ordered so. It is not a simple matter, for the head of state to direct the judiciary to jail my client,” said Kithi.

However, state counsel Edgar Mulamula sad the newspaper cutting submitted before the court by Kithi cannot be admitted as evidence.

Mulamula also said the President is alleged to have said the words during a radio show in one of the Kikuyu vernacular station, but Kithi did not provide the exact words before the court.

The Mombasa senior resident magistrate said the court will not dwell on hearsay because the source of the documents brought before the court was in question.

“The court is also not privy to the words used by the President in the said radio show and the source of the newspaper table here is in question,” she ruled.

Earlier on, Amwai had dismissed an application filed by the DPP on Mombasa to grant the police orders to hold Saburi in isolation at Manyani GK Prison for 14 days.

During a one-hour ruling delivered on Thursday 10:00am court session, Amwai said the DPP failed to prove that the DG tested positive for Covid-19 by not filing medical reports.

She also said the DPP did not table any travel documents to show that Saburi had travelled to Germany or had signed a guarantee, upon his arrival from abroad, that he will self-quarantine.

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Amwai also said a prison facility cannot be used as an isolation centre for a suspect who is alleged to have contracted a contagious disease like Covid-19.

 “This application lacks merits and therefore it is dismissed in its entirety with costs,” she ruled.

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