Punjani's wife and four others walk to freedom

In Summary

• Magistrate had issued orders for police to complete investigations in 24 hours.

Bashyal Shiva Prasad, Karki Sushmita (Punjani's third wife), and Rom Manoj outside Shanzu Court, Mombasa, after the court set them free on Thursday, August 15, 2019.
Bashyal Shiva Prasad, Karki Sushmita (Punjani's third wife), and Rom Manoj outside Shanzu Court, Mombasa, after the court set them free on Thursday, August 15, 2019.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

A Shanzu court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of wife suspected drug baron Ali Punjani, after police failed to link her to trafficking.

Four other suspects were also set free.

The magistrate had issued orders for police to complete investigations in relation to drug trafficking charges, and giving false information to police in 24 hours, failing which the magistrate ordered the suspects to be released unconditionally.

In his ruling Odhiambo observed that the seven days which were being sought by the state lacked in merit since investigating officers in the matter had already concluded and determined what charges to prefer against the suspects.

Shanzu resident magistrate David Odhiambo termed the prosecution’s case against the five Karki Sushmita, her relatives Ram Manoj and Bashyal Shiva, a gardener Boniface Maelo and a househelp Lucy Njeri as a "a story telling mission which they court was unable to buy".

"l hereby order the respondents to be released unconditionally since the prosecution has been unable to prefer relevant charges to the respondents, walk freely as you look at the sky since the court has upheld your fundamental rights, he said.

Odhiambo said that the prosecution had not availed the preferred charges against the respondents and had only brought the suspects to court to facilitate their release.

But prosecution through state counsel Augustine Ayeka had applied to have the suspects released on a bond, awaiting further instructions from the Director of criminal prosecutions on whether to charge them or not.

"I have instructions to have the miscellaneous file, closed and further to apply to the court to release the suspects on a personal bond awaiting instructions from the DPP, once the file has been forwarded to his office", he said.

There was a standoff outside the court premises, as plain clothes police officers, attempted to arrest the suspects before they were whisked away in a lawyer's car.