Migori Governor Okoth Obado has gone back to the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court in Nairobi seeking to have the charges against him in a Ksh73 million graft case reduced.
Obado, in an application filed before Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi, has asked the court to compel the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution to reduce the 22 counts to 12 or less.
The governor, through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, argued that the charges were too many. He also said that it would be impossible to conclude the case within a reasonable timeline.
Kilukumi said: “The number of counts against Obado makes it a near impossibility that his trial will begin and conclude within a reasonable time as required by the Constitution. The law recommends no more than 12 counts if the fair-trial-package right is not to be violated or contravened.”
The prosecution, led by counsel Evah Kanyuira, rubbished his arguments, reminding the court that the accused should have raised the issue before taking the plea.
He also said the prosecution had filed the 22 charges against the governor on the basis of overwhelming graft evidence.
“He pleaded not guilty to the charges without raising any issue as to the clarity or ambiguity in those counts or an objection to the number of counts. This is unconstitutional and unconventional in an adversarial system.”
The court will resume on 23rd November for a mention and further directions.
The governor, his four children, and six other co-accused were released from custody after denying defrauding the county government in dodgy tenders. They were all released on bails of different amounts.
The governor was slapped with a cash bail of Ksh8,750,000 with an alternative bond of Ksh20 million. His son Zachary Okoth got Ksh2 million bail or Ksh4 million bond, and daughter Everlyn Adhiambo, Ksh2 million or Ksh4 million bond.
Jared Peter Odoyo was released on a cash bail of Ksh8.25 million or Ksh15 million bond, Christine Ochola on Ksh3 million cash bail with an alternative Ksh6 million bond.
Joram Otieno got Ksh5.5 million cash bail with an alternative Ksh10 million bond and Patroba Otieno,Ksh6 million cash bail or Ksh10 million bond.
Governor Okoth was also barred from accessing his county offices. Deputy Governor Nelson Mahanga Mwita took over the running of county affairs following the court’s condition.