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Pastor Ezekiel denied bail, to remain in custody till Thursday

Pastor Ezekiel Odero appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Amido at the Shanzu Law Courts in Mombasa on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. [Robert Menza,Standard]

A court in Shanzu, Mombasa has denied bail to Pastor Ezekiel Odero of New Life International Church, who is being investigated for the alleged involvement in the Shakahola mass killings in Kilifi. 

Shanzu Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Amido granted the prosecution until May 4, 2023, to complete investigations and ordered that the matter be mentioned on that date.

He ruled that Odero be detained for seven days, starting from April 27, the day of his arrest, citing concerns that the televangelist could interfere with witnesses due to his perceived influence.

"The respondent shall be detained for a period of seven days, beginning from April 27, 2023, which is the day of their arrest. For the avoidance of doubt, the detention period shall end on Thursday, May 4, 2023,” Amido ruled.

“After considering the circumstances and the fact that the police have utilized five days to investigate while the respondent was in custody, I find the State's argument convincing that the respondent's significant influence could potentially interfere with witnesses. However, I believe that 30 days is an excessive period of time for detention."

Odero was represented by Lawyers Danstan Omari, Cliff Ombeta, and Jared Magolo, among others.

Last Friday, the Pastor was arraigned before Shanzu Magistrate Court for multiple criminal charges, including murder, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, and money laundering. 

The Director of Criminal Investigation filed an affidavit opposing bail, arguing that the complexity and seriousness of the charges warrant Odero's continued detention.

The police had requested a 30-day detention period, which the court deemed excessive.

Odero is linked to Paul Mackenzi, a controversial Malindi-based preacher who is also in custody for the alleged deaths of his followers in Shakahola. 

The Shanzu Magistrate Court reserved May 2 for the ruling after hearing oral submissions from both parties, due to the constitutional timelines for the arrest and arraignment of suspects.

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