Top Kenya Power managers facing graft charges were forced to spend a fifth night in police cells after the magistrate released them on a cash bail of Sh1 million each but after the official working hours yesterday.
The accused were taken to Gigiri Police Station where they spent yet another night as they awaited the processing of their bail since by the time the ruling was made, the KCB bank at Milimani Law Courts had already closed for the day.
The Anti-Corruption court had released suspended managing director Ken Tarus, his predecessor Ben Chumo and others on cash bail after a day-long wait in court.
Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti released them, saying the prosecution did not show compelling reasons to continue detaining them but on conditions they deposit their travel documents with the court.
“I order each deposit a cash bail of Sh1 million each, or a bond of Sh2 million each and a surety of similar amount and a personal bond of Sh3 million,” ruled Ogoti.
He also ordered the accused persons not to contact witnesses lined up in the case, report to the DCI after every two weeks and not to report at the company offices or risk cancellation of their bail terms. They were also restrained from going to any Kenya Power installations and offices, saying they should not use their password to interfere with the company boosters.
At the same time Ogoti issued summons against two co-directors of Muwa Company Ltd who allegedly supplied faulty transformers to Kenya Power.
The two directors who are mother and son Grace Wanjira and John Antony Mungai are said to be out of the country for medical reasons.
He further directed that if by tomorrow the accused would not have secured their freedom, they be transferred to Industrial Area remand and women to Lang’ata Women’s Prison.
Earlier during the bail application hearing, the case was disrupted for few minutes after the court was plunged into total darkness, prompting the prosecution to joke the suspects were behind the blackout. Power supply was shortly after restored.
The accused have for two consecutive days been brought to court under tight security.
The prosecution, through Alexander Muteti, had told the court the accused, if released on bail, were likely to interfere with witnesses, adding that other investigations into other tenders were still ongoing. “If the accused are released on bail, there is real danger the intended witnesses may be dissuaded from appearing and giving evidence against their immediate bosses,” he told the court.
The prosecution argued that the accused were senior officers manning sensitive departments, with access to the companies sensitive operational systems as super users in the management of the electronic system of the company.
But the defence, led by Katwa Kigen, said the accused are not a flight risk and have shown willingness to cooperate with police in investigations because they were arrested either in their homes or presented themselves to authorities which is a good gesture.
Kigen said all the accused in court were not part of the tendering committee that had awarded the contract in 2012, adding that they were set up by unknown people.
Tarus, Chumo together with nine other Kenya Power managers were charged with several corruption charges among them conspiracy to commit an economic crime, abuse of office, aiding the commission of a felony, willful failure to comply with the law, conspiracy to defeat justice and fraudulent acquisition of public property and procurement/supply of faulty transformers.
Others charged include Beatrice Meso, KP Mungai, Joshua Mutua, Abubakar Swaleh, Samuel Ndirangu, Stanley Mutwiri, Benson Murithi, Peter Mwicigi, John Ombui and director of Muwa James Njenga Mungai.
They all pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against them.
The court ordered the parties to exchange documents in the case before the pre-trial on August 6.