A businessman accused of trying to bribe Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to approve the construction of his hotel in Gigiri has been released on a Sh500,000 cash bail.
Praful Kumar Premchand Saula was alternatively released on Sh1 million bond with a surety of a similar amount.
Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Henry Nyakweba said the prosecution failed to provide compelling reasons to deny the suspect bail.
"Having considered submissions by the prosecution, I find that there are no compelling reasons to deny the suspect bail," Mr Nyakweba ruled.
He further ordered the suspect not to leave the court's jurisdictions without the court's permission.
Mr Nyakweba dismissed claims by the prosecution that Mr Saula will interfere with investigations, is a flight risk and that detectives are still investigating the source of his wealth.
Mr Nyakweba also dismissed the State’s argument that Mr Saula’s residence is not known and that the charges he is facing are serious because they attract a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of Sh5 million if convicted.
"The court has not been told where the CCTV footage is being analysed and how the suspect will interfere with the said analysis. One would wonder how an ordinary Kenyan would jeopardise investigations being conducted in a government installation," he argued.
"The suspect was charged under the Bribery Act , therefore the issue of the suspect’s assets being investigated does not arise. In addition, there is no provision that the accused must be incarcerated pending conclusion of investigations."
The Senior Principal Magistrate said that the law will take its course should the suspect interfere with investigations.
The charge sheet states that the accused, being a private entity, offered a financial advantage of Sh5 million to the governor in order to approve the construction of Grand Manor Hotel in Nairobi on LR.91/239.
But Mr Saula has dismissed the claims as false.
He is further charged with a second and third count of offering Sh2 million to Mr Sonko to consent to the construction of the building.
The prosecution said the suspect committed the offence on August 20 at Kanamai in Kikambala, Kilifi County.
The suspect was arrested with the bundles of bribe money by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives.
State Counsel Eugene Wangila did not want Mr Saula to be released on bail because they are still gathering evidence against him.
Mr Wangila said they have not yet been provided with the suspect's travel documents, details of his residence, registered phone numbers and his assets both in the country and outside.
"Charges facing the suspect are very serious. We can’t wish them away and assume he is not a flight risk. We are yet to be furnished with the suspect’s documents so that the prosecution can be comfortable even if he is granted bail," Mr Wangila said.