Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal was Tuesday slapped with a cash bail of Sh100 million — the highest ever in the country — after denying Sh84 million corruption charges before a Nairobi court.
Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti raised the bar in the war on graft by ordering Mr Lenolkulal to deposit the hefty amount to secure his release. The court gave him an option of depositing a bond of Sh150 million plus one surety of the same amount.
In addition to the bail terms, Mr Lenolkulal was ordered not to access the Samburu County government offices in Maralal pending the hearing and determination of an application to be filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The DPP, through senior assistant DPP Alexander Muteti, pleaded with the court to bar Mr Lenolkulal from accessing his offices for 24 months. He argued that the governor can interfere with witnesses, saying he can execute his duties from elsewhere.
The application was opposed by Mr Paul Nyamodi, who represented the governor, who argued that the DPP should make a formal application and give them time to respond.
The governor’s lawyers said they will file an application before the High Court for bail consideration.
The court also ruled that the director of Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) should deny Mr Lenolkulal and 12 other county officials access to the system. He said this would safeguard public funds.
“Since the Samburu County offices is the alleged crime scene, the accused person is prohibited from accessing them until the formal application by the prosecution is heard and determined,” Mr Ogoti said.
Some 13 other accused persons, who face similar charges, were not in court and were ordered to present themselves before the magistrate on April 4, for plea-taking.
They include Deputy Governor Julius Leseeto, Mr Stephen Letinina (County Secretary), Mr Daniel Nakuo, Ms Josephine Lenasalia, Mr Reuben Marumben, Mr Milton Lenolngenje, Mr Paul Lolmingani, Mr Bernard Lesurmat, Ms Lilian Balanga, Mr Andrew Lopilo, Mr David Loosenge, (county chief officers) and head of Supply Chain Geoffrey Kitewan. Also facing charges is Mr Hesbon Wachira.
It is alleged that they committed the offences between March 27, 2013 and March 25, 2019 at Maralal town.
The court heard that they conspired to commit the offence of corruption, which led to unlawful payment of Sh84,695,996 to Mr Lenolkulal through a petrol station known as Oryx Service Station.
Mr Lenolkulal and Mr Wachira face another count of unlawful acquisition of the Sh84.6 million from the county government.
The governor faced an additional charge of abuse office by allegedly conferring a benefit to himself by paying his company the said amount.
He is further accused of conflict of interest where he is alleged to have knowingly acquired a direct private interest by supplying fuel to the county government through his petrol station.
The pre-trial of the case will be held on April 29.