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Obado back in remand as bail request denied

As Migori Governor Okoth Obado headed back to his remand cell as a State guest for the fifth day after a bail plea hearing yesterday, we can now authoritatively reveal that the hunters of university student Sharon Otieno’s murderers are closing in on a close kin.

In an affidavit filed in court, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji says Obado was directly involved in Sharon’s murder. He says the Migori governor “conspired, aided, abetted and procured the murder of Ms Otieno”.

And to tie the case, the DPP has mapped out investigations that are likely to rope in “very close family members” of the governor and associates who might have played key roles in the murder.

Haji says confessions from some of the suspects arrested have prompted more investigations that are pointing fingers at Obado’s household.

“The investigations are not yet complete and investigations will be proceeding back to Migori, including Migori county offices for further investigations, which includes interrogating very close family members, Migori country employees and there is therefore every likelihood that might influence or tamper with the outcome of the investigations,” the DPP said in his sworn affidavit.

The capital offence that Obado faces carries a death sentence. Yesterday, High Court judge Jessie Lessit ordered Obado returned to Industrial Area GK Prison until tomorrow when she will rule on his bid to be freed on bail.

The DPP, through Senior Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti, opposed his release on bail because there was likelihood of another murder charge; murdering the late Otieno’s seven-month-old foetus.

“A seven-month-old foetus died and life begins at conception. The murder of the victims was done in a way that would shock the conscious of men,” he said, adding that if freed, Obado was highly likely to interfere with the investigations.

Deputy DPP Jacob Ondari told the court that they have a strong case against the governor and his accomplices.

In an affidavit by the investigating officer, Clement Mwangi, the court heard that there is evidence that links the governor and his accomplices to the commissioning of  the murder.

Mwangi says Otieno was lured to Migori where she was abducted and driven to the scene at Owande in Rachuonyo, murdered and her body dumped.

The prosecution further claimed Otieno’s family was under threats and intimidation which are believed to be perpetrated by Obado through his accomplices.

According to the prosecution, there is also a confession recorded by one Jackson Otieno Gombe which implicates the governor in the murder and which is critical in consideration in denying bail.

Lawyers representing the family also opposed the release of the governor on bail.

They urged the court to invoke a balance of rights of an accused person and right to life.

Obado’s lawyers, led by former High Court judge Nicholas Ombija, rejected the prosecution’s application saying the governor was entitled to bail, adding that no compelling reasons have been advanced in court to deny the same.

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta argued that Obado’s continued detention is “killing his spirit and dignity” and the court should consider his release on bail.

He also dismissed the argument that Obado’s influence in Migori will compromise the investigation saying his client will adhere to the court’s bail terms.

“The accused is influential, yes, but it is of political nature and cannot influence witnesses. Being a person of influence is not a problem,” he added.

“If the police are having a problem with the case that is not the accused’s problem,” Ombeta argued, adding that it is self-contradictory for prosecution to argue that it has a watertight evidence and yet push for the detention of the governor, whose rights for bail are guaranteed under Article 49 of the Constitution.

“If investigations are incomplete, what are we doing here? Why did they bring the accused to court today if they have not completed their investigations?” he posed.

On the hit men still at large, Ombeta said: “They (prosecution) have not argued how the hit men are related to the accused”.

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