- The probation officers have only managed to interview 63 out of the 66 suspects
- One of the suspects has actually been confirmed to be a foreigner
The 66 Shakahola victims, who were turned into suspects, have remained defiant in prison custody, the Shanzu Court was told Monday.
The individuals were rescued from Shakahola between May and June this year and were taken to a rescue centre.
However, after they became uncooperative, the State applied to have them considered as suspects.
Just after the Shanzu Court allowed them to be considered as suspects they were transferred to Shimo La Tewa, Kilifi and Malindi GK prisons.
The probation officers, who were tasked to carry out a social inquiry on the suspects, have only managed to interview 63 out of the 66 in the last one month.
Most of those interviewed have also not provided information about their families, hence making it difficult to trace their kins.
According to the probation officers, they have only managed to carry out home inquiries for 20 families, stating the need to continue holding the suspect for another 30 days.
Appearing before the Shanzu Magistrate Court Monday, the probation office led by Wycliff Wathome said most of the suspects are not originally from Mombasa.
One of the suspects has actually been confirmed to be a foreigner.
“We have only managed to do home inquiries on 20 families and significant others, thus there is a need for an extension because most of the suspects are slow to give information,” he said.
However, the suspects’ legal counsel Cosmas Mureti opposed the application by the probation officers, saying that it was a plan by the state to continue holding the suspects in custody.
Mureti argued that the suspects had already been in custody for 140 days, and any further detention would be going against their rights.
"We see the application by social inquiry as a move by the state to continue holding the suspects in custody. The last time we were here, the ODPP asked for 30 days, which was granted. Today, there is yet another application for additional days,” said Mureti.
He had asked the court to order the ODPP to present a progress report on the case alongside the family reports from the probation officers within seven days.
Mureti argued that those who refused to be interviewed by the probation officers were within their rights to do so.
He stated that the state has the monopoly of resources, and as such, they can get officers from other sides to help do the interviews.
"The probation officer has indicated that some people refused to be interviewed, but it is within their right. However, you cannot let the rest suffer because of an individual," he said.
The prosecution team, led by assistant DPP Jami Yamina, refuted claims that there was a plot by the government to continue holding the suspects in custody.
Yamina said that the DCI also faced similar challenges in interviewing the suspects as he supported the prayer for the suspects to be detained for a further 30 days.
The Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda however granted the State the 30 days requested to finish their investigation and social inquiry.
Shikanda, who was holding brief for Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Omido, said it would be unwise to refuse to grant the probation officers more time to present their full report in court.
“It is unlawful not to disclose to your probation officers where you stay. It is important for them to know your people, and where you live so that they can finish with the report,” said Shikanda.
Shikanda urged the suspects to cooperate with the probation officers saying that the information sought could even assist the suspects in their case.
"Yes, you have the right to speak or not, but this right can be limited. The probation officers are not coming for information that will implicate you," he said.
Shikanda said Omido’s court will resume sitting on October 9.
“This matter will therefore be mentioned on October 11, and for clarity, the accused will remain in custody until then,” he ruled.