Kenya: COVID-19 - Kilifi's Gideon Saburi Fights for Release on Cash Bail

(file photo).

Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has opposed an application by the Director of Public Prosecution for him to be denied bond for 10 days in a case in which he is charged with knowingly spreading the coronavirus.

Mr Saburi has denied a charge of wilfully exposing himself in public while suffering from the Covid-19 disease and without taking precautions contrary to the Public Health Act.

Through lawyers George Kithi and Clifford Tollo on Thursday, he opposed DPP Noordin Haji's application and instead asked a Mombasa court to release him on cash bail.

Mr Saburi told the court that he would comply with conditions for his release as he understood the consequences of disobeying them.

"The accused undertakes that he will not interfere or contact any witnesses," Mr Kithi said, arguing the accused disclosed where he lived.

NO PREJUDICE

Mr Kithi further told Mombasa Principal Magistrate Elvis Michieka that granting Mr Saburi bond would not prejudice the public or the prosecution.

He also said the charges Mr Saburi faces should be viewed as any other and as such, there must be a compelling reason to deny him release.

The defence added that Mr Saburi was not a flight risk, that he faced trial in Mombasa and that movement into and out of that county was restricted so he would remain there.

"The mere fact that there are investigations to be covered has never been a reason to deny bail," Mr Kithi also said.

He also noted that the accused has homes in Mombasa and Kilifi and that the prosecution had not submitted evidence to demonstrate that he was in danger.

"There is no evidence my client is in danger," Mr Kithi said, adding the offence was bailable.

DPP'S ARGUMENTS

Through Senior Assistant DPP Alloys Kemo, the prosecution asked the court to deny Mr Saburi bond for 10 days to allow police to complete their probe.

Mr Kemo told the court of critical outstanding aspects which needed to be covered hence the need for the accused to be denied release and be detained at a police station or any other institution.

"We have evidence that the accused, who had travelled to Germany, violated directives by the government to self-quarantine thereby putting lives at risk," he said.

He added that given his position, Mr Saburi, had influence.

The prosecution also wants to record statements from staff who worked closely with Mr Saburi, some of whom are being treated or in quarantine.

Mr Keno also told the court that they were yet to obtain document from Kilifi and the Immigration Department, which are key to the investigation.

The accused is alleged to have committed the offence between March 6 and 22 within Kilifi County.

Mr Saburi will remain at Port Police Station until Thursday, when the court will deliver its ruling.

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