Suspects in Court

Eighteen suspects in Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax evasion probe have been detained for 10 days after attempts to block their detention by state failed.

Magistrate Paul Mayovo on Thursday allowed an application by the state prosecution to have them detained further.

The suspects had pleaded with the court to have a hearing on custodial orders delayed till Friday.

“There are compelling reasons to hold the suspects for 10 days so that the investigation officers can conclude investigations on items they seized for suspects including mobile phones, computers and other items,” said Mayovo.

Mayovo said that he cannot confirm when the ruling at the high court in an application to review detention order will be made and therefore the suspects should be detained.

The ruling was made soon after the defense through their lawyers made an application to differ a ruling for detention pending the ruling of the high court matter.

Through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, Ian Maina, Tom Ojienda, Danson Omari among other laywers,the suspects had pleaded with the court to have a hearing on custodial orders delayed till Friday.

Nyachoti who is representing Tabitha Noelle, Carol Lijuma, Seraphine Okobola and Edward Kabugi said he needed more time to respond to an application by the prosecution.

Nyachoti told the court that the ruling made on Monday is being challenged before the high court and in view of the nature of proceedings before court it might have effects on current matter.

“I have not been served and I need more time to make substantive response in the matter,” said Nyachoti.

He wanted the court to differ the hearing of the proceedings to Friday this week and await the ruling of the matter at the high court.

Nyachoti said that his clients have not been served and a matter involves freedoms and liberties of citizens which is constitutional by nature.

He said that the matter cannot be responded on the spot without considering substantive submissions to respond to the same.

 “I have been made aware that there was a similar application before court last week and was related to the one in court 1964/2019 and a decision was made and detained the respondents for 14 days,” said Nyachoti.

The state Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu had made a request before Mayova to have them detain for 21 days so that they can pursue detailed investigations.

“There are compelling reasons to warrant detention of the respondents pending detailed investigations on their illegal criminal enterprise,” he told the court.

The court was informed that based on investigations and several leads, the suspects pose great risk and mainstay of the economy hence risking the national security of the country and their actions must be fully investigated.

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