Sh70m Parliament staff theft suspects out on bond

Five parliamentary staff arrested over an alleged theft of Sh70 million from the National Assembly can be released from police custody pending completion of investigations, a court has ruled.

They will deposit bonds of Sh1 million each to secure their freedom, a magistrate said on Tuesday.

The prosecution wanted the suspects detained for a 14 days but the magistrate overruled the request stating that “no compelling reasons” had been given to deny the accused their freedom.

Mr Obudo Samuel Otieno, Mr Keith Kisunguh, Mr Alloys Tinega, Mr George Omondi Arun and Mr Benjamin Njagi Kagutu were arraigned in Nairobi.

“So far it has been revealed that the respondents stole Sh70,624,900 on diverse dates between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015,” prosecutor Daniel Karuri said.

He said that the Speaker of the National Assembly who is the chief accounting officer wrote to the Director of Criminal Investigations on October 1 requesting investigation on an alleged fraud within certain departments of Parliament.

Lawyers representing the suspects opposed the prosecution’s detention request and questioned the truthfulness of an affidavit sworn by the case’s investigating officer.

They said the affidavit was misleading as it stated that a language barrier had prevented the police from interrogating the suspects since their arrest and furthermore one of the suspects, Mr Arun was not in the employment of the Public Service Commission on the dates when the alleged offences took place.