Magistrate withdraws from Babu Owino’s attempted murder case

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Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi who recused himself from presiding over the attempted murder case of Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili also known as Babu Owino. PHOTO COURTESY

Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi who handed Embakasi South MP Paul Ongili, popularly known as Babu Owino, a cash bail of Sh 10 million, in a case in which the lawmaker is charged with attempted murder, has recused himself from handling the case.

He said he will not be in a position to preside over the trial of Mr Owino because the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji had raised protests against the bail terms he gave the legislator for his release.

“The DPP has written a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission over the cash bail granted to the accused person in this case, I therefore cannot proceed with the trial,” he said.

Mr Andayi pointed out that he issued the terms for releasing Mr Owino in good faith and that it was his intension that the monies be used to cater for the victim’s medical bill since he is still recuperating in hospital.

He also told court that he received the news about the complaint while he was mourning the loss of his wife, who died just the day after he freed the legislator.

Mr Owino is charged with attempting to kill Felix Odhiambo Orinda, who is popularly known as DJ Evolve.

He was also charged with a second count of behaving in a disorderly manner while carrying a firearm.

In the bail ruling, the magistrate said the money will be used to settle the hospital bills of victim DJ Evolve.

The amount will be paid to the court in four installments and will be used to clear all the bills the DJ will incur in the best medical facilities until he recovers fully.The facilities will make claims through the court.

The court, however, gave tough conditions for the MP’s release from Industrial Area Prison, one being payment of the first installment of Sh2.5 million before he is freed.

Mr Andayi set other conditions, noting the need to avoid the impression that the payment was used to hoodwink the court into grating the suspect bail.

He said Babu acted with impunity when he offered to pay the bills but also noted that detaining him would be tantamount to fully withdrawing the services the DJ is receiving at The Nairobi Hospital.

Mr Andayi further said there were compelling reasons to deny the MP bail but that he reconsidered the matter so he can pay the bills.

Any unutilised portion of the Sh10 million will remain deposited in court until the case is concluded.

Chief Magistrate Andayi further ordered the MP to present two sureties of equal status.

His lawyers Mr Cliff Ombeta, Dunstan Omari, Duncan Okatchi and Charles Omanga said Mathare MP Antony Oluoch and Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka would stand surety for the MP.

Mr Oluoch and Ms Kwamboka were asked to deposit copies of their national identity cards and passports in court.

Mr Andayi also said Babu must not drink alcohol or take narcotics in a public place, or interfere with witnesses, until the case is heard and determined.

Mr Andayi further said Babu cannot comment on the case in any forum, be it in the media or at public gatherings that he will attend in his capacity as an MP.

The court allowed the prosecution to make any application to have the bail terms reviewed or cancelled whenever the terms are breached.

But the DPP termed the payment of the cash bail in installments as an anomaly.

The case will be mentioned on March 2 before Magistrate Bernard Ochoi.