BY SAM ALFAN.
Some 31 employees of the department of registration of birth and deaths have been released on cash bail of Sh 250,000 each, pending conclusion of investigations.
Kiambu Chief magistrate Patricia Gichohi granted all the suspects bail after dismissing an application by prosecution seeking to be allowed to hold them for 10 more days as they conclude investigations and decide whether to prefer charges against them.
“I am certain that investigations in this case can still continue if the suspects are released but on conditions. To therefore, ensure investigations are completed without interference and with utmost cooperation of the suspects, none of the suspects should access their offices”, ruled the magistrate.
The court said the suspects can only access their offices with authority from investigators. He said they should not interfere with any evidence or intended witnesses in this case.
The magistrate also ordered each of the accused to report at DCI Headquarters every Monday and Friday of the week at 9.00 am starting from Friday November 8, 2019 pending their taking plea for any charges preferred.
The defence team was led by former Senior Principal Kiambu Magistrate Bryan Khaemba and Eric Mutua had urged the court to dismiss prosecution application.
City lawyer Khaemba told the court that there was no compelling reasons advanced by the State to justify denial of the suspects right to liberty.
He added that the investigating officer does not need the presence of the suspects in order for him to complete his investigations.
“This court should stop these habits by the DCI to arrest people without completing investigations and expect the assistance of the court by having them detained in court as it undermines the right of arrested persons under Article 49(1)(g) of the Constitution”, added Khaemba.
The prosecution had on Monday asked the court to grant them 10 more days to continue detaining the suspects in order to complete investigations.
They said detectives needs to visit all the counties countrywide collecting evidence into offences of forgery, fraud, abuse of abuse.
Among those arrested in the swoop were deputy registry director Paul Kagiri, principal records management officer Charles Akwoni, principal civil registration officer Charity Mwadime, her assistant Jane Wangari Maina and several clerical officers.
The suspects among them three nurses of St.Francis Hospital were arrested last Friday during operation led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.
The lead detective chief inspector Evans Sang however, had urged the court in his sworn affidavit to be granted ten more days to hold the suspects in order to complete the probe into the case.
Through senior state prosecutor Christine Mbevi, the officer had said he was investigating a case of forgery, fraud and abuse of office which need time to visit various counties.