In compliance with the directive against remanding crime suspects in prison facilities over the Covid-19 pandemic, a magistrate has ordered a lawyer charged with stealing shares worth at least Sh23 million detained at a police station.
Senior Principal Magistrate Zainab Abdul said on Wednesday that Mr Robert Langat will be held at Kileleshwa Police Station in Nairobi until the case is concluded.
Mr Langat and his co-accused Gerald Mwiti Murithi have denied conspiring to defraud Kingdom Securities Limited of 1,026,700 shares worth Sh23,697,131.15 between July 17, 2014 and April 7, 2017.
The two are also accused of forging a certificate of confirmation of a grant in a succession matter, claiming it was signed by Justice Aggrey Muchelule.
Mr Muriithi is separately charged with receiving Sh23.6 million in his bank account, knowing or having reasons to believe the monies were the proceeds of the sale of stolen shares.
While asking the court to have Mr Langat held at a police station, State prosecutor Kennedy Panyako said he had absconded since August 2019.
He noted that five warrants for his arrest had been issued and that he had changed his phone number several times to avoid police.
“The accused was arrested in Kericho, having shifted his legal practice from Nairobi to Ahero,” Mr Panyako stated.
The lawyer discounted the prosecutors’ averments, saying he was arrested at Chiromo Mortuary while attending a relative's postmortem.
“I operate in Nairobi and have never shifted my office to Ahero,” he said, adding he did not flee but went to Kericho to attend to his sick mother.
In her ruling, Ms Abdul said the accused did not give sufficient evidence to support his absence on five occasions during the trial.
She added that the Sh100,000 cash bail he was granted had been forfeited to the State so he lacked security.
The magistrate directed that Mr Langat remain in police custody in compliance with the government's directive that no fresh prisoners should be handed over to prison authorities.
She gave him 14 days to appeal against her decision.
Ms Abdul, who conducted court business under a tree at the Milimani parking yard as part of measure to prevent the virus, also ordered another suspect's detention at Central Police Station.
Alvin Okullo Owino is accused of forging a local purchase order by Smollan Kenya Limited for 40 computers worth Sh3.5million.
He had been on the run for 15 months and was bailed out by his father Nicholas Ragot Owino.
His father who was arrested last Thursday then detained in prison until he produces his son to face trial will be freed now.
Okullo’s explanation that he had been admitted for many months at the Mater Hospital was rejected as there were no discharge notes from the health facility.
to remain in police custody until April 20, 2020