Judge reviews theft suspect's bond from Sh10m to Sh200,000

A woman has sued her two brothers, including retired Mombasa Regional Police Commander, Larry Kiyeng, over their late father’s multi-million-shilling estate in Keiyo North sub-county, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Photo credit: Photo by Fotosearch

The High Court has reduced the cash bail imposed on a 29-year-old man accused of stealing goods worth Sh37 million from an entertainment club during protests against the Finance Bill in Eldoret town last week.

High Court judge John Robert Wananda ordered Mr John Paul Mutua to deposit Sh200,000 cash bail to secure his release.

An Eldoret court had earlier ordered Mr Mutua to pay a bond of Sh10 million to secure his release.

"Considering that the value of the items alleged to have been stolen in the charge sheet filed at Eldoret MCCR/E1433/2024 is approximately Sh37,000,000/-, the applicant is hereby admitted to bail and released from custody on reviewed/revised conditions from those imposed by the court, namely, bail in the sum of Kshs 150,000/- with one surety and in the alternative, cash bail in the sum of Sh200,000," Justice Wananda said.

Earlier, the suspect had watched in disbelief as the Eldoret magistrate court handed him a bond of Sh10 million after he was charged with looting and stealing goods worth Sh37 million at an entertainment club during last week's protests against the Finance Bill.

Jonathan Paul Mutua appeared before Eldoret Principal Magistrate Cheronoh Kesse for allegedly committing the offence at Baniyas Square, a popular day and night club in Eldoret. He denied the charge.

The bond has become the talk of the town, with many residents terming it an exaggeration.

According to the charge sheet, Mutua, in the company of others still at large, broke into Baniyas Club Square on June 25, 2024, and stole items valued at over Sh37 million.

The court heard that the items included alcohol, electronics, sound systems, utensils, gas cylinders, chairs and food.

He faced an alternative charge of stealing and dishonestly retaining a Channel Sound Craft Mixer, a Mini Pearl Controller DMX and an HDMI Box knowing or having reason to believe that they were stolen goods.

The defendant looked at the magistrate thoughtfully for about five minutes as the charges were read to him. He tried in vain to raise his hand to get her attention as the charge was read out.

He denied the charges of breaking and entering, felony and handling stolen goods.

The accused looked perturbed in the dock when Presiding Principal Magistrate Cheronoh Kesse asked him to get two sureties in like sum.

Some of the lawyers present in court were also confused when the court slapped Mutua with the huge bond.

“It is strange how one man can bear such a huge burden yet this incident happened during a demonstration by Gen Zs. I am thinking of offering the accused pro bono services and request the court to review this bond,” said Eldoret-based lawyer George Sonkule.

The prosecution presented an inventory of stolen goods to the court, attached to the charge sheet, showing various items from the club that were stolen.

A group of rowdy youths allegedly stormed the club, located on the busy Eldoret-Uganda highway, at around 3pm last Tuesday during the nationwide protests against the 2024 Finance Bill.

They reportedly demanded food at the club's gate before breaking the metal gate and allegedly stole several items, including expensive alcoholic drinks.

Police officers from the Kamukunji police station later arrested the suspect at his house, where they allegedly found some items believed to have been stolen from the club.

Prosecutor Sylvester Thuo had told the court that the prosecution would not oppose the granting bond, but that the court should consider the seriousness of the offence, the circumstances and the value of the stolen items.

Last week, the management of Baniyas put the value of everything stolen from the club at Sh40 million.

The magistrate said she had taken into account the magnitude of the offence and the money involved.

The case will be heard on July 15.