Standard Group journalist Aaron Obudho Ochieng was on Tuesday charged before a Nairobi court with allegedly stealing a motor vehicle belonging to a KTN news anchor.
Ochieng appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Joyce Gandani and denied two counts of stealing and handling stolen property. The magistrate directed Ochieng to deposit cash bail of Sh300, 000 or execute a bond of Sh1 million to secure his freedom.
News anchor Joy Doreen Biira's Mercedes-Benz was stolen from Standard Group's parking yard along Mombasa Road on December 23.
Mr. Ochieng was arrested on December 30 in Kisumu and later transferred to Nairobi and detained at Industrial Area police station in connection with the theft of the workmate’s car.
The charge sheet stated that Ochieng on December 23 at Standard Group Limited offices along Mombasa Road in Nairobi jointly with others not before court stole a motor vehicle KBY 831 K Mercedes Benz class E 220 worth Sh2.8 million, the property of Joy Doreen Biira.
“On December 30, 2016 at Kondele Shopping Centre in Kisumu City otherwise than the course of stealing you dishonestly retained the said motor vehicle knowing or having reason to believe it to have been stolen, “ stated the second count of handling stolen property.
Mr. Ochieng’s lawyer Ken Bosire pleaded with the court to release him on lenient bail terms to allow him conduct the case out of custody.
“I urge the court to release the accused person on reasonable terms and direct the prosecution to supply the defence with all documents and witness statements to enable him mount his defence during trial,” Bosire told the court.
This is after the prosecutor told the court that the prosecution was not opposed to Ocheing’s release on bail pending hearing and determination of the case which is set for hearing on February 3 with a mention on January 17.
The prosecutor said seven witnesses have been lined up to testify in the case once trial of the case begins. According to an investigative report filed in court, Ochieng denied the allegation of stealing the vehicle while Doreen maintained her vehicle was stolen from Mombasa Road offices without her knowing.
According to a police reports, the car was driven out of the premises by Ochieng without her knowledge.
Doreen claims she parked her car as usual at the Standard Group headquarters parking yard on Thursday last week in the morning. At around 8pm she told police that her car keys were missing from her desk, prompting her to check whether her vehicle was still at the parking. It was missing.
She reported the matter to the company’s security and it was found that the car had left the premises at 7:30pm, with occupants remaining unknown.
She then reported the matter to Industrial area police station. Investigations commenced leading to the recovery of the said motor vehicle in Kisumu. However, its registration number had been changed from KBY 831K to KCH 117L.
This lead to the arrest of two security guards after the vehicle was found at a car wash and later retained at the Kisumu Police Station.