MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct 23 – Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and her bodyguard Geoffrey Okuto, a co-suspect in a murder case, were Friday released on Sh4 million and Sh1.5mn cash bail respectively after spending four nights in police custody in relation to an active murder case.
They were further ordered to surrender their passports to the court and avoid witness tampering.
The two denied a murder charge on Thursday when the were arraigned in court and subsequently sought to be released on bail.
Jumwa and Okuto were forced to return to police cells on Thursday after the prosecution asked for more time to file an affidavit supporting its decision to oppose bail.
On Thursday morning, Jumwa and Okuto denied any involvement in the killing of Ngumbao Jola, a 48-year-old-man, who was murdered in chaos that ensued during campaigns for a by-election in Ganda Ward in Malindi on October 15 last year.
The two had been arrested last year, but were later released on Sh500,000 cash bail each, pending a comprehensive investigation into the matter.
Last week, the Director of Public Prosecution said the two have a case to answer.
On Thursday, while opposing bond application of the two suspects, Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alloys Kemo said Jumwa holds an influential position in the society and is likely to interfere with key witnesses in the case.
“Jumwa has influence in Malindi. It is normal that any person facing murder charges may try to reach out to prosecution witnesses to influence them change to their testimonies,” said Kemo.
He further argued that Okuto, who has been in stable relation with Jumwa for the past six years, has no fixed abode. He is said to be staying in Nairobi’s Embakasi, Lavington and also in Malindi.
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“It is our submission that these are compelling reasons to deny the accused persons bail until the key witnesses in this matter give their testimonies,” said Kemo.
However, Jumwa’s team of four lawyers, including Jared Magolo, Danstan Omari and Wycliff Ombetta, opposed Kemo’s assertions that their client might intimidate the key witnesses in the matter.
“This matter has been pending before court for one year. The accused persons have been out on bond, and the victims have not complained of any intimidation or harassment,” said Magolo.
Ombeta said the assertions that Jumwa is influential cannot be used as the basis to deny her bail.
“It is in fact discriminatory to use the accused person’s position to deny her bail. We have seen governors and other people who have more influential position released on bond,” said Ombeta.
Lady Justice Mwangi said she will deliver a ruling on whether to release the two accused persons on bond or not after going through all submissions.
Mombasa High Court Judge Lady Justice Njoki Mwangi delivered the bail ruling shortly after 1pm on Friday.