Bishop Deya to defend self in child theft case today

Wheels of Justice: Court cases lined up for the day

Piece by: Susan Muhindi

• In February, the accused urged the court to acquit him for lack of evidence.

• Magistrate Robinson Ondieki was told the charges were malicious and intended to tarnish his reputation as a Man of God.

Bishop Deya.

Controversial Bishop Gilbert Deya will on Thursday proceed with his defence hearing in a child theft case.

The last time the matter was in court, the case failed to kick off. The trial Magistrate was taken ill and pushed it to today.

In the case, the Bishop is charged with five counts of stealing five children, all aged below 14 years at Mountain View estate between 2002 and 2004.

In February, the accused urged the court to acquit him for lack of evidence.

While defending himself from the allegation, the preacher, who was on August 4, 2017, deported to Kenya from the UK to face child theft charges, denied all five counts.

Led in his defence by lawyer John Swaka, the bishop denied having given any instruction to anybody to keep the five children in his Mountain View home.

Magistrate Robinson Ondieki was told the charges were malicious and intended to tarnish his reputation as a Man of God.

Deya will be proceeding with his defence today.

Separately before the Anti-graft division, Magistrate Victor Wakumile will give directions on how the Sh213m graft case facing Trade CAS Evans Kidero will proceed.

Trial Magistrate Douglas Ogoti has been presiding over the case since 2018 when the accused persons were first arraigned in court but he was transferred to Kisumu.

Kidero says his recent transfer to Kisumu is likely to affect the speedy conclusion of the case.

Ogoti was among the 84 Magistrates affected by the re-organisation of the Magistrates Division announced by Registrar of Magistrates Courts Peter Mulwa in July 2021.

He was moved to Embu effective October 11 as the head of the station. He was then transferred to Kisumu in February this year.

Following his transfer, Kidero appealed to Chief Justice Martha Koome to allow Ogoti to conclude the hearing of the Sh213m graft case facing him and eight others.

Kidero says when Ogoti was initially transferred to Embu, the office of the CJ allowed him to conclude his outstanding matters in Nairobi, including his case.

He says it's only prudent that the same should follow suit now that he is in Kisumu.

In his letter addressed to the CJ, Kidero says the Sh213m graft case is at an advanced stage with only one witness remaining before the prosecution closes its case.

The investigating officer who is on the stand was scheduled to finalise her part beginning March 7 this year but the same has stalled owing to the new developments in the case.

The court will today be informed on whether the CJ responded to the February 23 letter.

In the case, Kidero has been charged together with former chief officers in his administration with conspiracy to commit an offence of fraud leading to the loss of public funds in the sum of Sh213,327,300 for services not rendered.

Other charges include conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, fraudulent acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, and unlawful failure to pay tax to a public body.

Former County secretary Lilian Ndegwa, former chief finance officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba, a former minister in charge of finance and planning Gregory Mwakanongo, former accounting head Stephen Ogago Osiro, former acting chief finance officer Luke Mugo and former acting head of Treasury Maurice Ochieng Okere are also facing the charges.

John Githua and Grace Njeri are accused of fraudulently receiving payments from the county government.

The charges against them state that they conspired to commit fraud which led to the loss of Sh213,327,300 at the County Government between January 16, 2014, and January 25, 2016.

They allegedly conspired to commit corruption by authorising payment to various companies, for services not rendered.

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