Defiant Sang out on bond, vows to build cattle dip

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang (centre) speaks to his supporters atop his car moments after he was released on bond by a Kisumu court. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang has sworn to continue with plans to construct a cattle dip on a piece of land whose ownership is under contention.

Mr Sang who was released yesterday on a Sh1 million bond, is facing accusations of damaging tea bushes worth Sh2 million on the land claimed by Kibwari Tea Estate.

After leaving a Kisumu court following his successful bond hearing, Sang Launched a scathing attack at the Inspector General of police (IG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The governor said officers at Kisumu Central Station deliberately abandoned the station in order to have him spend the night behind bars, even after the High Court in Eldoret directed that he be released.

“I am happy today because the court has given me justice. I will ensure that a cattle dip is constructed on that parcel of land in the next one month,” said Sang.

Earlier on, court orderlies had struggled to control tens of his supporters.

The supporters cheered wildly as soon as Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo ordered that the governor be released on bond.

Sang was charged with three counts: Malicious damage of property, incitement to violence and abuse of public office.

The court heard that on June 8 this year at the tea estate, the governor, jointly with others not before court, destroyed the tea bushes.

He is also said to have provoked the locals by telling them to arm themselves and invade the land.

But Sang, who was represented by a battery of lawyers led by seasoned counsel Zephania Yego, denied all the charges.

Futile attempt

The lawyers had earlier made a futile attempt to block the prosecution from charging the governor by questioning the jurisdiction of the Kisumu Court.

They cited the earlier order by the Eldoret High Court which barred the IG and the DCI from prosecuting Sang.

However, their attempts hit a brick wall and the lawyers proceeded to ask the court to grant Sang reasonable bond terms, arguing that the charges against him were mere misdemeanors.

“We are urging the court not to accept the invitation of the prosecution to have our client take plea. Allowing the prosecution to prefer the charges results to defiling the Eldoret court order,” said Mr Yego.

Victor Mule, the prosecutor, dismissed the defence arguing that the charges involving the land in which the High Court in Eldoret had issued orders blocking Sang's prosecution, was different from the charges the governor was presently facing.

The applications by the defence seeking to bar the prosecution from charging Sang prompted the court to adjourn for about three hours before the magistrate delivered her ruling.

In her ruling, Ms Omollo described the defence's assertions as devoid of merit and dismissed them.

She noted that there was no express order on the parcel of land which the prosecution was seeking to prefer charges on the governor.

“I am well guided by the orders that were issued by the Eldoret High Court. There are no express orders on parcel number 6075 which is the property of Kibwari Tea Estate,” said Omollo.

Earlier on, Chief Magistrate Julius Ngar Ngar recused himself from handling the case, citing his relationship with the governor.

Hearing of the case has been set for September 19.