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9 State officials in court over graft

By Peace Loise Mbae | November 18th 2015
L-R Silas Masinde, Bruno Mugambi,Caleb Indiatsi,Praxidis Namoni,Godwin Mwagae, Peter Ayondo,Abrahakm Kipchirchir,Nicholas Karume in the dock at a Milimani court charged with wilfull failure to comply with the law relating to procurement .they were released on 8 million cash bail 17/11/2015 PHOTO BY GORGE NJUNGE

Nine suspended Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) officers facing corruption charges were yesterday slapped with stiff bail conditions.

A Nairobi court granted suspended GDC Managing Director Silas Simiyu and Company Secretary Praxides Namoni Sh8 million cash bail each. Nicholas Karume, Abraham Kipchirchir, Peter Ayodo, Gordon Mwagae, Caleb Mbavi, Bruno Mugambi and Michael Maingi were granted Sh5 million bail each.

The nine are said to have been in a committee that failed to comply with procurement laws and inappropriately influenced evaluation in signing and approving a Sh42 million tender. They all denied the charges.

Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali issued the bail terms in accordance with the Chief Justice's new policy guidelines.

The terms for their release were opposed by defence lawyers Kioko Kilukumi, Wilfred Nyamu, Stephen Kibugei and Charles Koech who labeled the court's ruling as "unreasonable and impossible to meet".

However, Mr Bidali was unmoved. The magistrate said the new rules demand that he issues such bail conditions in accordance with the offence they were accused of committing.

"The decision remains the same as decided by the court. However, you can file for review of bond at trial or in the High Court. Let's agree on hearing dates probably in February or March next year," said Bidali.

The defence lawyers refused to pick a hearing date, arguing that the court should allow them to appeal the decision before a High Court judge as soon as possible as their clients were unable to meet the terms. They questioned the ruling, asking when the guidelines were published and whether they were gazetted.

Mr Kilukumi raised his objection and said the move was meant to deny the accused freedom and justice.

"I have never heard of such terms even in murder cases. All other courts have exercised leniency while giving bond. This is going to be a big case I assure you," he said. Mr Nyamu said the ruling was just meant to deny the accused their freedom.

"The particulars are draconian and unreasonable. Never in the history of the court has such been given. Your honour, we plead that the court reviews," he said.

Nyamu said the charges the accused were facing were not of theft but of illegal procurement and should be treated as such. However, Bidali stood his ground. The case will be mentioned on November 30.

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