Alone in the dock: With CS Jumwa off the hook, bodyguard left to face murder case
The murder trial against Mr Geoffrey Otieno Okuto, the former bodyguard of Gender and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa, over the killing of an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporter has been moved to June 5.
It will be the first time Mr Otieno will be facing witnesses alone over the shooting of Jola Ngumbao in 2019, after the charge against his co-accused, Ms Jumwa, was quashed.
The two were initially charged together with the murder of Ngumbao during a by-election in Malindi, but Ms Jumwa was freed after new evidence, as reviewed by the state, exonerated her.
The court had been told that the two and their supporters stormed the home of Reuben Katana where an ODM strategy meeting was taking place, leading to the killing of Ngumbao.
In December last year, the High Court discharged Ms Jumwa from the murder trial, with a disclaimer that she can still be arrested and charged in future.
Mombasa High Court Judge Ann Ong’injo discharged Ms Jumwa from the criminal proceedings under Section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Section provides that the prosecution can, with the consent of the court, or on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions, at any time before judgment is pronounced, withdraw from the prosecution of any person, and upon withdrawal, if it is made before the accused person is called upon to make his defence, he shall be discharged, but discharge of an accused person shall not operate as a bar to subsequent proceedings against him on account of the same facts.
While discharging Ms Jumwa from the criminal proceedings, Justice Ong’injo reiterated that the withdrawal of the murder charge does not operate as a bar to her arrest and subsequent prosecution over the same facts.
The charge was dropped against the Cabinet Secretary after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) requested to have her discharged from the murder trial.
In a letter, the ODPP informed the court that it had reviewed the evidence against Ms Jumwa and found that the charge against her could not be sustained.
Also, the prosecution informed the court that in her letter requesting review of the murder charge against her, Ms Jumwa had indicated that she is now willing to testify against her co-accused.
Following the termination of the charge against Ms Jumwa, Mr Otieno was charged afresh.
He pleaded not guilty.