Swazuri Released on Cash Bail in Graft Suit
Former National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri and 10 other officials before an Anti-Corruption Court in Milimani, Nairobi.
Former National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri and 10 other officials accused of corruption were released on cash bail ranging from between Sh1.5 million and Sh12 million. On 17th April, Swazuri and 10 others were arrested by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives and charged in an Anti-Corruption Court on 18th April, 2019. They pleaded not guilty to various charges of corruption and economic crimes including abuse of office, unlawful acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, financial misconduct and money laundering.
On plea of not guilty being entered against 11 accused before the Court, the defense team applied to have them admitted to bail. However, the prosecution informed the Court that the State was opposed to the release of the accused on bail. The State contended that the accused persons were people of means and if released on bail, are likely to tinker with the evidence by interfering with witnesses by influencing or compromising so as to sway the evidence in a particular way or intimidate them not to give evidence at all.
Making the ruling on bail terms, Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi noted he was not persuaded that the threshold for denial was sufficiently met by the prosecution. He however, pronounced the prosecution demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt the gravity and seriousness of the offenses as a factor the Court must consider in fixing suitable bail terms.
The Court directed as follows:
- 1st Accused: Mohammad Abdalla Swazuri
- 2nd Accused: Emma Muthoni Njogu
- 3rd Accused: Tom Aziz Chavangi
- 4th Accused: Salome Ludenyi Munubi
- 7th Accused: Francis Karimi Mugo
- 8th Accused: Catherine Wanjiru Chege
They were directed to deposit a cash bail of Kshs. 12,000,000 (Twelve Million), in alternative, a bond of Kshs. 30,000,000 (Thirty Million0 plus a surety of like amount. Mr. Samuel Rugongo Muturi, the 12th Accused person was charged with abuse of office whose value of the subject matter is in excess of Kshs. 15,000,000. He was directed to deposit a cash bail of Kshs. 6,000,000 in the alternative of a bond of Kshs. 15,000,000 plus a surety of the like amount.
Officials of the NLC before an anti-corruption court in Milimani, Nairobi.
- 6th Accused: Lilian Savai Kevernge
- 13th Accused: Evahmary Wachera Gathondu
- 14th Accused: Michael George Onyango Oloo
The Court directed that the accused persons to be released j=on a cash bail of Kshs. 1, 500,000 in the alternative a bond of Kshs. 5,000,000 plus a surety of like amount. In a addition, the Court issued the following conditions to the accused released on bail or bond:
- They shall deposit their passports in Court
- They shall not contact any witnesses
- Every holder of a public office is barred from accessing the office without prior written authorization of the current head of the respective institution which authorization shall be made after consultation with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which is the Investigative Agency.
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