Governor Sang freed on Sh1m bond in tea plantation saga

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang at the Kisumu Law courts on June 11, 2019. [Denish Ochieng]

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang has been released on Sh1 million bond.

He is charged with malicious damage to property.

Hearing of the case has been set for September 19.

Sang was arrested on Monday by detectives moments after his defiant address outside the county headquarters in Kapsabet town.

The police were forced to lob teargas canisters at Sang’s supporters as they drove him to Kisumu under heavy security. He was later detained at Kisumu Central Police Station.

Earlier on Monday afternoon, Eldoret High Court Judge Stephen Githinji issued orders stopping the police from arresting, prosecuting or questioning Sang following an application by the governor’s lawyer Prof Tom Ojienda.

The orders were given against the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecution.

In dramatic scenes, Sang was driven to Nandi Central Police Station in a convoy of several vehicles and anti-riot police officers.

He was led inside the station to record a statement as his supporters who had trailed the convoy milled around the police station. Sang was received by Nandi Criminal Investigations boss Sammy Mukeku.

It was also not clear what charges would be preferred against the governor, but a detective told The Standard that one of the charges that he was likely to face was malicious damage to property.

He was being sought for uprooting tea belonging to Kibwari Estate on Friday.

The governor told reporters at his county offices on Monday that the uprooting of the tea was lawful and had the blessings of the National Land Commission.

Sang said the county had a raft of cases against Kibwari estate and after inviting the NLC over the planned repossession, the commission had cleared him to do so since the land in question was public property.

He said his government was planning to build 2,000 houses on the land as part of an agreement with National Government under the banner of affordable housing.

The governor accused the cartels which he did not name of grabbing public property, saying residents of Ketchem-Kapteng area in Nandi Hills fundraised to buy the land on which the tea was grown for a cattle dip and that some of them had sold cattle to build the cattle dip only for it be demolished by the tea estate.

He had said that he was ready to record statement with the DCI and maintained that he was innocent.