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Bungoma county officials on corruption charges denied bond

By Jack Murima and Sheillah Chumba | Published Tue, July 17th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 16th 2018 at 23:15 GMT +3
From left, Yahya Mutali, Mathias Ochunga, Chiuli Murumba, Fredrick Mukhwana , Carolyne Malangachi, Dunstan Wafula and Ben Anerico when they appeared at Kakamega High Court on July, 16, 2018. [Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Seven officers from the Bungoma County Government implicated in the loss of Sh2.3 million were yesterday denied bond.

The seven are charged with 14 counts of anti-corruption and economic crimes, all of which they denied committing before Kakamega Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Muraguri.

They were charged with conspiracy to commit corruption offences, fraudulent acquisition of public property and making false documents.

They include County Secretary Chuli Murumba, County Director of Human Resource Mathias Wanyela and accountants Dunstan Wafula, Yahya Mutali, Fredrick Mukhwana, Carolyn Malangachi and Ben Arenico.

They were jointly accused of conspiracy to commit corruption offenses namely misappropriation of public funds amounting to Sh2.36 million and failing to account for the same money on diverse dates between September 13, 2016 and December 23, 2016.

They were also charged with unlawful disposal of public property belonging to the county government.

County government

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Mutali, Wafula, and Malangachi also faced charges of fraudulently acquiring Sh340, 000, Sh2,020,000 and Sh2,360,000 respectively which belonged to the county government.

The magistrate denied their bond application and slated to hear the application today.

Through lawyers Siro Ombaye, Andrew Kituyi, Michael Kiveu and Abok Odhiambo, the seven submitted before court that they are not a flight risk and were willing to attend court whenever required. They insisted that they were arrested without warrants of arrest and the State prosecution, Paul Juma, will not have difficulty in tracing them.

Mr Juma opposed the application, saying being county employees and residents of county, they were likely to interfere with the prosecution witnesses.

“I have considered the application by the defence to be released on bond. I have also put into consideration the submissions by the prosecution opposing the release of the accused persons on bond. However, the documents have not been properly served to the court and to defence counsels and are hereby expunged from the records,” said Mr Muraguri.

The magistrate noted that the documents were not properly filed in court and served to the defence lawyers.

“I have looked at the affidavit, however, it was not filed since it doesn’t bare the court’s stamp. The submissions are not properly dated and do not have proper pagination,” said the magistrate.

He directed the prosecution to furnish all the accused with witness statements and all documents before hearing today.

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