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February 23, 2019

DPP wants tycoon in Sh5 million Sonko bribery case detained

Tycoon Praful Kumar before principal magistrate Henry Nyakweba at the High Court in Mombasa yesterday/GPS
Tycoon Praful Kumar before principal magistrate Henry Nyakweba at the High Court in Mombasa yesterday/GPS

The office of the DPP wants the Nairobi businessman accused of attempting to bribe Governor Mike Sonko to remain in custody.

The state wants Praful Kumar in remand until the case is determined. Kumar was charged on Wednesday  with three counts of bribery before senior principal magistrate Henry Nyakweba.

State prosecutor Eugene Wangila objected to his release on bond, terming him a flight risk and likely to abscond court.

According to the charge sheet, on August 20 at Kanamai in Kilifi county, Kumar allegedly offered Sonko Sh 5 million to have expansion of his Nairobi hotel approved.

Kumar, the proprietor of Grand manor Hotel, was also accused of offering Sh1 million to Sonko on the same date. He denied the charges.

Wangila said the charges against Kumar are serious enough to require that he remain in custody until the case is determined. The prosecutor said the accused tried to bribe the governor to get approval for hotel construction in Gigiri.

“The accused allegedly took a dive into the corruption waters even when there is a campaign to fight corruption and impunity,”Wangila said. He further said the accused had not deposited his passport to the police and it was easy for him to leave the country.

Wangila said with the Constitution allowing dual citizenship, the accused might escape to another country where Kenya cannot institute criminal proceedings. He said Kumar has not disclosed the whereabouts of his family or where he lives.

Kumar lives in Nairobi but was arrested in Mombasa. The state said it was necessary to find him if he absconds court. The businessman,  through lawyer Kithinji Marete, pleaded for bail.

Kumar said he is a Kenyan who follows the law and will appear incourt. The tycoon said he is still innocent until proven guilty, and has constitutional right to bail.

Marete said the prosecution has not presented compelling reasons on why he should be denied bond.

A ruling is expected today.

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