Kidero denies fraud charges, lawyers fight for bail

Evans Kidero, former Governor of Nairobi, sits in the dock before his hearing over charges of corruption-related crimes at the Mililani Court, August 9, 2018. /REUTERS
Evans Kidero, former Governor of Nairobi, sits in the dock before his hearing over charges of corruption-related crimes at the Mililani Court, August 9, 2018. /REUTERS

Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has denied allegations that he and former senior county officials engaged in corruption-related activities.

Kidero was arrested on Wednesday evening and taken to the Anti-Corruption Court alongside former treasury head Morris Okere

on Thursday. Warrants were issued for the arrests of several others.

The arrests followed directions by DPP Noordin Haji on allegations of

mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds by

former senior county officials.

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During arguments for the release of Kidero and Okere on bail, lawyer Tom Ojienda asked chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti

not to be "too strict" as they are "law-abiding citizens".

"There is no reason why they would not avail themselves for trial. None of the accused persons has [cases of] past criminal conduct and they cannot interfere with any witnesses," he said.

Ojienda further pointed out that the accused no longer work for the county so they do not have access to documents and employees.

He also claimed that the delay in charging Kidero was deliberate to deny him the opportunity to secure bond terms.

"Kidero, was on his way to the EACC when he was arrested. He has spent over 23 hours at the commission. He slept there and has cooperated on every aspect of the investigation," he said.

The prosecution differed with Ojienda, noting the former county chief has influence.

"The influence that the first accused person has cannot be ignored," Senior state counsel

Joseph Riungu

said.

"We strongly submit that we have not made the application to oppose bail out of malice. It is our duty to bring to the attention of this court why we are at another level when it comes to dealing with these kinds of cases."

In June, Kidero tried to block the EACC from probing him.

Riungu further

said they presented the suspects in court within 24 hours and that Kidero

received "first class treatment" at the EACC cells, was well fed and slept well.

"You can see the former Governor looks okay," he said of Kidero, who appeared jovial.

Ogoti noted that all organisations have policies, regulations, guidelines and set requirements of the law for good governance, which include but are not limited to time management.

"This court shall uphold the Constitution. It’s now after 3 pm; the time remaining is little. I direct that moving forward, no plea shall be registered after 8.30 am," he said.

The bail hearing continues.