19 June 2018

Kenya: Bail Ruling for 47 NYS Suspects Today

Bail ruling for suspects implicated in the National Youth Service financial scandal, is set for this morning.

The 47 suspects, among them suspended Public Service Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, were denied bail by Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti when they were charged.

The court cited the seriousness of the charges the suspects face which Justice Ogoti said pose a threat to the financial health of the nation.

"The economic offence having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole, and thereby posing serious threats to the financial health of the country. And in my opinion and finding can lead to anarchy, threat to peace and threat to the national security," Justice Ogoti ruled on June 5.

But High Court judge Hedwig Ong'udi heard pleas from lawyers last week and promised to rule on the matter on Tuesday.

Through lawyers Assa Nyakundi, Migos Ogamba, Stanley Kang'ahi and Kirathe Wandugi, the 47 suspects told the court that the prosecution had not given the court any compelling reason, to deny them bail.

Mr Nyakundi said bail is a fundamental and constitutional right and any fight against corruption must be fought within the confines of the law.

According to the advocate, the reason advanced by Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti to deny them bail was not compelling.

But Mr Nyakundi told the court that court cannot subvert the Constitution in the name of fighting corruption.

In reply, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), through senior principal litigation counsel Duncan Ondimu, urged the court to look at the seriousness of the offences.

Mr Ondimu said, corruption, although not done violently, kills quietly.

He said there is a rise of white collar crimes which have serious repercussions on the development of the country.

The lawyer said that the prosecution is only required to convince the court that there are substantial grounds to believe that the suspects are likely to interfere with the course of justice.

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