Kenya: State Seeks 6 More Months to Continue Holding Cult Leader Mackenzie, Associates

18 September 2023

Mombasa — The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Monday applied for an extension of custody for cult leader Paul Mackenzie and his 27 co-accused persons for another 180 days.

Assistant DPP Jami Yamina said despite their confinement of Mackenzie for over five months, the police have not concluded their investigation into the deaths of over 429 in the Shakahola forest.

Mackenzie and his co-accused are facing about 12 charges, including terrorism, murder, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, and money laundering.

However, despite the long detention, they have not yet been formally charged.

On Monday, Yamina informed the Shanzu Magistrate Court that the police still require additional time to complete their investigations.

"We are now filing a new application requesting a 180-day extension, which is six months, to allow the police to conclude the investigations," he said.

The DPP explained that the DNA analysis of the exhumed bodies will take at least six months to complete.

"This evidence is crucial for identifying victims and deceased individuals, which is essential for specifying charges, presenting the case, and delivering justice," he said.

Nick Makuu, Assistant Director of Probation Aftercare Services, informed the court that they would need at least 30 days to complete the Social Inquiry report for each of the suspects held with Mackenzie.

He noted that some of the suspects had been uncooperative and refused to speak to probation officers without their legal counsel's direction.

Mackenzie's legal counsel, Wycliff Makasembo requested a two-week extension to review the new application and file responses. He mentioned that he had been a victim of a mugging incident on Sunday night, which left him with injuries.

Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda allowed Makasembo two weeks to seek medical assistance and respond to the new application.

He also directed the probation office to use the next three weeks to finish their social inquiry reports on Mackenzie and his associates.

The next mention of this new application is scheduled for October 12.

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