State asks for probe on hotelier’s wealth

Nairobi tycoon Praful Kumar , who was arrested by EACC detectives on Monday 20th 2018 as he attempted to bribe governor Mike Sonko, he was nabbed with sh1m cash but he was to deliver sh5million on a later date. DPP now wants his source of wealth investigated. [File, Standard]

The State has asked the ethics body to investigate the source of the wealth of a man charged with bribery.

Principal State Prosecutor Eugene Wangila yesterday told Mombasa Principal Magistrate Henry Nyakweba that it was imperative that the agency knows how Praful Kumar acquired his wealth.

Mr Kumar, the owner of the Grand Manor Hotel in Gigiri, faces three counts of attempting to bribe Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to allow the construction of his hotel to continue. While opposing Kumar’s application to be released on bond, Mr Wangila said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate his business dealings.

“The DPP is opposing the release of the suspect on bond because he is a flight risk. We do not have his travel documents. We want time to have all his documents, names of his relatives and telephone numbers registered in his name. We want to know his family both in Kenya and outside the country. We also want to know his income and tax compliance,” said Wangila.

But Kumar’s lawyer, Githinji Marete, asked the court to reject the prosecution’s application, arguing that bond was the constitutional right of every citizen and that his client was innocent until proved guilty.

“It is only the court that can uphold the rights of suspects. The court must maintain neutrality in any case before it,” he said.

The prosecutor told the court that since the suspect was looking at a long jail term and a fine not exceeding Sh5 million if found guilty, there was a possibility that he could abscond.

“This is an accused who went ahead and tried to bribe Governor Mike Sonko. If released, he can do the same to another person,” said Wangila. The court postponed the bail ruling to a later date.

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