Migori County official on graft charge detained for four days

Thursday May 2 2019

Migori County Secretary Christopher Rusana

Migori County Secretary Christopher Rusana in the dock at the anti-corruption court in Kisii on May 2, 2019. He was detained for four more days pending bail ruling. PHOTO | RUTH MBULA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RUTH MBULA
By RUTH MBULA
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Migori County Secretary Christopher Rusana has suffered a major blow after an anti-corruption court in Kisii detained him for four more days.

Rusana, who pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse of office in relation to the appointment of an officer in utter disregard of the law, will return to court on May 6, 2019 when his application for bail will be determined.

Chief Magistrate Nathan Shiundu Lutta Thursday turned down a request by the defence counsel to rule on bail this Friday.

“No, no, no. That is the best I could give,” said the magistrate.

Rusana is a close ally of Governor Okoth Obado.

THREATEN WITNESSES

The county official, who was represented by lawyers Rodger Sagana, Omonde Kisera and Rodgers Abisai, had pleaded with the court to release him on reasonable bail terms arguing that it is his constitutional right.

“The allegations by the investigating officer that the accused, if released on bail, may interfere with prosecution witnesses, is an alarming statement and just a mere assumption. Our client is eligible for bail,” said Mr Sagana.

Principal Prosecutor Jami Yamina had asked the court to deny the accused bail saying that if released, he could interfere with and threaten witnesses.

“If this court takes into account notice of the happenings in Migori, among them burning of offices for destruction of evidence, then it would be wrong to free the accused at this time,” said the prosecutor, adding that the State has lined up 12 witnesses in the case, eight of whom work for the Migori County government.

SHOCKWAVES

He also said that some of the witnesses had expressed fears of intimidation and threats by county officials.

Rusana was arrested by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (EACC) detectives on Tuesday evening, an action that sent shockwaves among county government employees who said the arrest came as a surprise to them.

He was booked at the Migori Police Station before being transferred to Kisii.

The county secretary is now in a long list of Migori officials on the EACC radar over claims of abuse of office and corruption.

Governor Obado, one of the officials under investigation, is accused of using proxies, including his relatives, to siphon Sh2 billion from the county government, according to an affidavit filed in court by the anti-corruption watchdog.