Kibera Chief Magistrate Joyce Gandani came to the rescue of embattled Migori Governor OkothÂ Obado
Ms Gandaniâ€™s decision came as a big relief forÂ Obado, who is already having a battle of his life both at theÂ courtsÂ over the murder of Sharon OtienoÂ
Kibera Chief Magistrate Joyce Gandani came to the rescue of embattled Migori Governor OkothÂ Obado, saving him from prosecutors who wanted him detained for two weeks.
Ms Gandaniâ€™s decision came as a big relief forÂ Obado, who is already having a battle of his life both at theÂ courtsÂ over the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno and to save his battered political image.
The magistrate ruled that the prosecution had not produced compelling reasons to detainÂ ObadoÂ for 15 days in relation to three guns found at his rural home in Rapogi, Migori County, and released him on a cash bail of Sh200,000.
â€œNo one should suffer incarceration without proper due process, it is not fair for the prosecution to state that they want to hold him for more days when they had already had three days since to carry out investigations,â€ ruled Gandani.
Migori Governor OkothÂ ObadoÂ at a Kibera court where police applied to hold him for 15 days for allegedly being in possession of firearms. [George Njunge/Standard]
According to the magistrate, the prosecution had not even preferred charges against the governor to warrant detention.
SCENE OF CRIME
She ruled that it was not possible forÂ ObadoÂ to interfere with investigations and witnesses as claimed by the prosecution since the prosecution had not even disclosed who their witnesses are.
She agreed withÂ Obadoâ€™sÂ defence that it was not possible for him go to his rural home in compliance with the bond conditions issued by the HighÂ CourtÂ when he was charged with Sharonâ€™s murder which made prosecutionâ€™s claims of him visiting the scene of crime baseless.
â€œIt is true that he was barred from going back to his rural home so the prosecutionâ€™s apprehension that he will interfere with investigations is not true. In any case, the officers who recovered the guns had already recorded statements from the security personnel at his home,â€ ruled Gandani.
On the issue ofÂ Obadoâ€™sÂ phone data records being investigated to establish if the recovered guns had been used to commit other crimes, Ms Gandani ruled that investigators can still obtain the data while he isÂ free.
She said the governor had no control over the phone data to influence the outcome of investigations. The magistrate said theÂ courtÂ must strike a balance between administering justice and the rights of the governor and the fact that he must be presumed innocent unless proved otherwise.
OkothÂ Obado's laywer Cliff Ombeta addresses journalists outside CID headquarters in Nairobi following arrest of the Governor. [David Njaaga, Standard]
â€œHe is a well know public figure who cannot run away from prosecution, and will appear inÂ courtÂ or before investigators any time he is required. I find and hold that the prosecution has not produced anything to justify why they want him detained,â€ said Gandani.
She said being a governor,Â ObadoÂ is expected to serve his people without interference and that investigators know where to find him should they require him to record any statement.
Ms Gandani directedÂ ObadoÂ to report to the DCI every two weeks until investigations are complete.
Prosecutors had told theÂ courtÂ that they suspect the governor was in possession of the firearms and 57 rounds of ammunition without valid certificates.
Obado, however, denied having the firearms, saying one was planted at his home by EACC detectives who were searching his home over allegations of being involved in a Sh2 billion corruption scandal at the county.Â
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