High Court frees 47 NYS scandal suspects on bond
The High Court has agreed to free accused persons in Sh468 million NYS scandal case on bond and bail with tough conditions attached.
The court on Tuesday granted the 47 suspects, including Public Service Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, Sh5 million bonds with a surety of Sh2 million.
Additionally, the judge ordered the accused to deposit Sh1 million cash bails to secure their temporary freedom.
In granting the bails and bonds, the judge said the prosecution did not give compelling reasons to continue holding them in remand.
The judge said it is not in dispute that some of the suspects are senior civil servants and the charges if proved are serious.
However, she said the case is yet to be heard and the court, being an arbiter, should be seen to take a neutral stand.
She went ahead to impose tough conditions on the suspects, including not making any contact with witnesses.
They are also required to deposit their passports in court and report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations once a week.
The judge asked the accused to attend all hearings and mentions whenever required by court and not to visit their former offices unless accompanied by police.
On June 5, the accused were denied bail by Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti of the Anti-Corruption Court when they were charged.
The magistrate cited the seriousness of the charges the suspects face, which he 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.
But High Court judge Hedwig Ong’udi heard pleas from lawyers last week and promised a ruling on Tuesday.
Through lawyers Assa Nyakundi, Migos Ogamba, Stanley Kang’ahi and Kirathe Wandugi, the 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 Mr Ogoti to deny them bail was not compelling.
And according to Mr Nyakundi, the 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.