Suspects implicated in the Sh469 million National Youth Service scandal put up a strong argument on Tuesday as to why they should be released on bail.
Appearing before High Court judge Hedwig Ong’udi, the suspects, among them suspended Youth and Gender Principal Secretary Lillian Omollo, said their continued incarceration was humiliating yet the charges they were facing can be bailed.
Through lawyers Assa Nyakundi, Migos Ogamba and Kirathe Wandugi, the 47 suspects told the court that there was no compelling reason given by the prosecution, to curtail their freedom. Mr Nyakundi said bail is a fundamental and constitutional right and any fight against corruption must be fought within the confines of the law.
According to the advocate, the reason advanced by Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, denying them bail was not compelling.
Mr Ogoti denied the suspects bail saying that the offences touch on the economy which end up affecting the country.
The magistrate said economic offences constitute a class apart and the need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail.
“The economic offence having deep rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threats to the financial health of the country and in my opinion and finding which can lead to anarchy, threat to peace and threat to national security,” he said.
But Mr Nyakundi told the court that the fight against corruption cannot be fought by subverting the Constitution. He also took issue over a letter written by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to Chief Justice David Maraga on corruption cases.
The lawyer said the DPP was trying to influence if not intimidate the court and Justice Ong’udi should reject such schemes.
In reply, the DPP through Senior Principal Litigation counsel Duncan Ondimu urged the court to look at the seriousness of the offences.
According to Mr Ondimu, corruption although not done violently kills quietly.
He said there is a rise of white collar crimes, which have serious repercussions on the development of the country. The lawyer said that the prosecution is only required to satisfy that to the court that there are substantial grounds to believe that the suspects are likely to interfere with the cause of justice.
The court will deliver the ruling on June 19.