We have no evidence to link ODM official to electoral misconduct, police tell court

The ODM official was seized on the eve of March 7 Malindi by-election by detectives on allegations that he had in his possession some election materials.

Wednesday March 16 2016

ODM director of communication Philip Etale (right) with his lawyer Maurice Kilonzo at the Kilifi court on March 16, 2016 after he was set free by the court for lack of evidence linking him to electoral malpractice in the just concluded Malindi by-election.  PHOTO | KAZUNGU SAMUEL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ODM director of communication Philip Etale (right) with his lawyer Maurice Kilonzo at the Kilifi court on March 16, 2016 after he was set free by the court for lack of evidence linking him to electoral malpractice in the just concluded Malindi by-election. PHOTO | KAZUNGU SAMUEL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale was on Wednesday acquitted of electoral malpractices by a Kilifi court.

Mr Etale, who had been accompanied his by his lawyer Maurice Kilonzo, was set free by Kilifi Resident Magistrate Evelyn Wasike for lack of evidence linking him to election malpractices in the just-concluded Malindi by-election.

An affidavit presented to the court by the investigating officer, Kipkemboi Rop, stated that police found no evidence or incriminating material on his cell phone, adding that the said motor vehicle was not found to have been in the commission of any alleged criminal offense.

“That investigation so far has established that the respondent did not commit any criminal offence,” read the affidavit.

Immediately after his release, an elated Mr Etale told journalists outside the Kilifi court that he has never stolen or involved in any criminal activity, terming the charges as fixed and having no basis.

“It is a victory to me. For the last one week, it has been difficult and I have never been at peace with myself because I have never been into this situation before but I thank God that I have been vindicated by the investigation officers who found nothing and absolutely nothing as claimed in the media that I was found with election materials,” he said.

“I believe in justice and Kenyans now know that the kind of politics some people are trying to perpetuate in this country is old-school. Kenyans should fight this kind of politics currently being reinvented,” he said.

His lawyer said politics of retrogression were not part of Mr Etale and this was in the open after he was vindicated by the investigating officers.

“Selective justice is not part of today’s democracy. We are happy,” said Mr Kilonzo, Mr Etale’s lawyer.

The ODM official was seized on the eve of March 7 Malindi by-election by detectives on allegations that he had in his possession some election materials.

Immediately after his arrest at a hotel in Malindi, he was taken to Kilifi where he was charged.