A taxi driver was yesterday charged with smuggling into the country 19 Ugandans and three Burundian women.
Evans Ondari (pictured), who was arraigned before a Milimani court, was accused of committing the offence at Tasia, in Nairobi’s Embakasi.
The women said to have been smuggled were identified as Susan Mayobo, Brenda Tibitondwa, Masitula Watsemba, Mawazo Ntyakira, Elizabeth Nabirye, Violet Namujju and Hajarah Nankindu.
Others are Daisy Namagala, Proscovia Nakayenze, Kate Wadada, Madina Namatovu, Safina Praise, Shamira Mbirungi, Edith Hanifa, Namata Mary; Nabukenya Sharuwa, Adia Wamono, Mutuwa Hilda and Sawiya Asilimwe.
The Burundian women are Zawandi Nsengiyumwa, Mawazo Ntyakira and Shamsa Inamahoro.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecution did not object to his release on bond.
Ondari, who was not represented by a lawyer, told the court that since his arrest, he has not communicated with his family as his phone was confiscated.
His application to have the phone released was objected by the State, with prosecutor saying it was an exhibit in the matter.
Mui Mulelo, an Immigration department prosecutor, appealed to the court to have the matter heard as soon as possible as the women in question were being held at their offices.
“Your honour, we don’t have facilities to keep these kind of people, it’s strenuous on us, we apply that this matter be heard as early as tomorrow so that we can release them,” Mulelo pleaded.
The court was, however, treated to some drama when the accused’s brother stormed the court demanding to be heard. The brother told Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot that he wanted to hire a lawyer to take up the case.
“Go to the dock and consult with the accused and see how you can hire a lawyer because the charges before me are very serious,” Cheruiyot said.
The accused was released on Sh5 million bond with an alternative of Sh2 million cash bail.
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