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Governor Okoth Obado awaits ruling on his bail application

Tuesday September 25 2018

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Migori Governor Zacharia Okoth Obado will spend two more nights at Industrial Area remand awaiting a ruling on his bail application.

Mr Obado, who has since denied murdering 28-year-old Sharon Otieno, was arrested last Friday and spent the weekend in police custody. But the governor will still be a state guest, albeit until Thursday, when Justice Jessie Lessit will decide whether to release him on bond.

WITNESSES

The prosecution led by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jacob Ondari opposed his release saying Mr Obado is an influential person and most of the witnesses are from Migori, with some of them being county employees.

He said the likelihood of Mr Obado interfering with witnesses or suppressing investigations were high, if he is released on bond. He further said that the police were yet to complete investigations and releasing him might compromise the probe.

‘The right to bail is not absolute. We urge you to consider the gravity of the offence and the punishment it carries,” Mr Ondari said, adding that they have evidence that Ms Otieno was lured into her death.

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Further, the prosecution said the confession allegedly made by one of the suspects identified as Jackson Gombe makes it even a compelling reason to not release Mr Obado because it is extremely dangerous. He added that Ms Otieno’s family has been threatened and intimidated.

But in reply, Mr Obado through lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Nicholas Ombija said the alleged confession was doctored or falsely procured. Mr Ombeta questioned why the police were in a rush to charge Mr Obado then claim that the investigations were not complete.

Mr Ombeta said that the prosecution should not use Mr Obado’s position as a governor to “crucify him” because he too, should be equally treated and protected before the law.

The lawyer further said the prosecution must give evidence of the alleged connection between Mr Obado and the hit-men or abductors and not mere allegations.

“If the prosecution is apprehensive that some of the witnesses might be harmed, they can use the Witness Protection Act,” he said.

On Monday, Mr Obado denied that he murdered Ms Otieno, an offence he allegedly committed between September 3 and 4, at Owade in Rachuonyo sub-county, Homa Bay County. The charge stated that he committed the offence with others not before court.

Mr Obado maintained that the murder is bailable under Article 49(1)(h) of the constitution and that he has a right to be released on bond.