Kilifi Deputy Governor Saburi out on bail, to self-isolate again

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Kilifi deputy Governor Gideon Saburi (seated) appears before principal magistrate Elvis Micheka. He was released on a cash bail and ordered to quarantine himself for 14 days. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

Monica Kagia

Kilifi County Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi who is charged with wilfully exposing himself to the public while suffering from Covid-19 has been released.

Saburi was set free by a Mombasa Law Court yesterday after paying Sh 200,000 cash bail.

Principal Magistrate Elvis Michieka had ordered Saburi to be released after paying the cash bail or after depositing Sh 500,000 bond. The accused was also ordered to self-quarantine at his house in Mombasa for 14 days beginning yesterday.

The court also directed the deputy governor to deposit all his travel documents and not to contact any of the witnesses in the case.

“Thereafter, he should comply with the government directives on social distancing, curfew and movement restrictions failure to which the court will be at liberty to cancel his bail/bond,” the magistrate said.

The court said the  Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had not adduced compelling reasons as to why Saburi should be detained for 10 more days.

“I also find that the accused was admitted to Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH) and discharged after doctors were satisfied he was in good health and would not pose a danger to the public despite the threat posed by the epidemic that is Covid-19,” the magistrate said.

Saburi who has been in police custody since April 3, is charged with the offence of wilfully exposing himself in public while suffering from an infectious disease without taking proper precautions contrary to the Public Health Act.

The prosecution, through Senior State Counsel Alloys Kemo, had applied for the accused to be detained in police custody for 10 more days on grounds that the accused defied a government directive to self quarantine and in so doing, endangered the public.

Further the prosecution claimed the investigators are yet to complete investigations and could be bringing further charges against the accused.

They further argued that being a deputy governor, Saburi wields immense power which can be used to interfere with witnesses mostly his subordinate staff at the Kilifi County government.

“In respect to the application by the State that the accused person’s life could be in danger if released on bond, they, in the same breath, sought to have the accused detained for further 10 days before he is admitted to bond, it is not clear whether the threat will have dissipated in the 10 days or there is really no threat to the accused and the court is not in a position to ascertain the same,” said Michieka.

On Wednesday, lawyer George Kithi , who is representing Saburi, told the court that his client has never tested positive for Covid-19 and the court proceedings were meant to tarnish his name. 

“Your honour we can confirm that my client did not submit any samples to KEMRI whose results show that he was positive for novel Coronavirus while those of Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH) indicates that my client is negative,” said Kithi. 

He further presented the court with test results which showed that on March 21 when the accused was taken to isolation at CGPH, the results were negative and so were the second and third tests.  

The lawyer told the court that Saburi had never met the doctor who signed the results reportedly submitted to Kemri.

“Your honour, miracles do happen and I would say that if the samples from KEMRI indicate that my client was positive, how then is he negative two days latter?” Kithi posed.

Saburi has denied the charges of exposing himself to the public and failing to self-quarantine as per the government directive. 

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