- The probation department had been directed by Thika resident magistrate Oscar Wanyaga on September 21, 2023, to prepare and file the prebail report .
- This was to guide the court on determining the defence’s cash bail/bond application.
The founder of Lesedi Developers, Geoffrey Kiragu, will remain in custody for seven more days after a Thika court denied him cash bail or bond.
Kiragu is facing 12 counts of defrauding land buyers of Sh5.47 million while operating as Lesedi Developers Limited by pretending he was in a position to sell them land. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His application to be freed on cash bail or bond, through his lawyers John Khaminwa, Daniel Gachau, Wilfred Nyamu and Wanjiku Mwendwa, hit a snag on Monday after the Thika court declined it following failure by the Thika probation department to file a prebail report at the court.
The probation department had been directed by Thika resident magistrate Oscar Wanyaga on September 21, 2023, to prepare and file the prebail report . This was to guide the court on determining the defence’s cash bail/bond application.
Joshua Kirimi, the probation officer, told Thika chief magistrate Stella Atambo that his office has not been able to prepare the report and applied to be granted two weeks to prepare the report and file it at the court.
Kirimi’s application was met with opposition from Kiragu’s counsels who told the court that the probation department didn’t give compelling reasons as to why they failed to heed to the court directive to prepare the report and reasons why their client should be denied cash bail or bond.
“The application by the probation officer is unacceptable and should be rejected by this honourable court. He has failed to give any compelling reason for failing to execute the court’s directive. This will amount to denying the accused person his right to be granted a bond or cash bail,” said counsel Nyamu.
Nyamu also invoked the presumption of innocence while making his submission saying the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He also noted that the defence is mulling settling the matter with the complainants by refunding them their dues, noting that the settlement process cannot be started while the accused is still in custody.
“Settlement will be done within an enabling environment and not when the accused person is in custody. Again, the accused should not be compelled that the settlement will be an incentive for his release. Release him in the spirit of undertaking negotiations,” Nyamu pleaded with the court.
However, Atambo while making her ruling on the application, directed the probation department to prepare and supply all parties with the report within seven days.
“The probation department, Thika, is admonished accordingly for not treating the task with the seriousness it demands. It should file and serve all parties the report within the next seven days,” she said.
Atambo noted that the matter is of public interest and hence the consideration of rights of the victims. She said while the court is not bound by a prebail report as it were, it must balance the rights of the accused and the victims while granting bond or bail.
“The prebail report may not and is not an impediment to the bail/bond but its importance to the instant case is great and will protect both the rights of the accused and the victims,” she said.
The matter will be mentioned on October 2, 2023.
Atambo also ordered that Kiragu be locked at Muthaiga police station after declining an earlier application by the prosecution to have him locked at either Thika police station or Thika remand prison.
Among the claimants who lodged the suit is Anthony Mwaura, Mark Wairi and Margaret Wanjiru who parted with Sh1,050,000, Sh749,000 and Sh525,000 respectively but never set foot on the land they bought.
“On diverse dates between February 5, 2022 and March 1, 2022 at Thika within Kiambu county, while trading as Lesedi Developers Limited, with intent to defraud, obtained Sh1,050,000 from Anthony Mwaura Muhia by falsely pretending that you were in a position to sell plots No. 130&131 excised from land parcel Thika Municipality Block 40/2414, a fact you knew to be false,” read one of the charges.
Kiragu was also charged with obtaining Sh350,000 from Priscilla Wanjiku, Jennifer Wangari, Jonathan Kinyanjui, Charles Maina, Josephine Wanjiku, Mukundi Moreen Njeri and James Mwangi each while falsely pretending to sell them land.