Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki (pictured) was yesterday released on a Sh6 million cash bail.
Anti-corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti also barred the county chief and his juniors, who were charged alongside him from accessing the county offices, until the Sh34.9 million fraud case is heard and determined.
The magistrate said the amount of money involved in the case informed his order that Muthomi should part with the hefty bail to secure his freedom.
However, he noted that although graft has evolved to huge amounts of money, the guidelines on bail have not been reviewed to cater for the new developments.
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“All institutions including this court must put efforts to firmly deal with corruption. The issue of presumption of innocence is well understood by this court, hence the grant of bail will not be viewed as a punishment. Corruption has evolved from hundreds of shillings to billions of shillings and yet there are no clear guidelines on provision of bail,” Ogoti observed.
Muthomi now joins the list of governors who will run their errands out of their palatial offices as they fight graft allegations.
Nairobi’s Mike Sonko, Migori’s Okoth Obado and Samburu’s Moses Lenolkulal were barred by the court from accessing their offices after being charged.
Muthomi’s wife Margaret Mugweru was ordered to pay a Sh3 million cash bail or a Sh5 million bond while his nephew Allan Gitonga was to pay Sh2 million cash bail or a Sh5 million bond.
County employees Fridah Murungi (chief environment officer), Floridah Kiende (acting director of procurement), Highton Murithi (finance officer) and Teresia Kagoji (finance officer) were given similar terms as the governor.
The other employees -- Arch Lee Mwenda (department of roads), Japhet Mutugi (procurement officer), Emily Nkatha (procurement officer) and Mike Mwiandi (accountant) -- were released on a Sh1 million cash bail or Sh3 million bond.
Muthomi’s brother-in-law George Miano was also released on a Sh1 million cash bail while his business associate David Mbugua was handed a Sh 3 million cash bail or a Sh7 million bond.