Court holds 66 Makenzi followers for 30 more days to allow probe

Pastor Paul Makenzi [seated second left] with his wife Rhoda Maweu [left ] and other suspects at Shanzu Law Courts. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

A group of alleged Pastor Paul Makenzi’s followers will spend 30 more days in detention to allow the probation officer complete his report.

Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda issued the directive against 66 suspects yesterday. “For the avoidance of doubt, the respondents shall remain in custody. I have listened to both sides, and the probation report is a reason enough to warrant the court to extend the days,” said Shikanda.

The 66 were members of the quasi-religious cult rescued from Shakahola Forest, where they were fasting to “go and meet Jesus in heaven”.

The magistrate told them the probation report was not an investigation into the Shakahola incident but an interview that would assist the court in deciding on bail.

“The probation report is for your benefit to give information to the probation officers. Don’t be cheated that if you remain silent your issues will be okay. We take another date of October 11 for mention,” said Shikanda.

Senior Prosecutor Jami Yamina had applied to have the 66 rescuees from Shakahola detained for 30 more days to allow the probation officers to conclude interviews with them and their relatives.

Shanzu Chief Magistrate Joe Omido in July ordered a probation report to help determine the issue of bail.

Assistant head of probation Nick Makuu said they have so far interviewed 63 of the rescuees but it has been a tedious exercise because of scanty information from them.

“The respondents are slow to give information. We have done 20 family inquiries and their significant others. The scope of inquiry is large, and one is a foreigner. Our probation officers across the counties are making inquiries from families and significant others,” said Makuu.