Geoffrey Atieno Okuto

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa’s aide Geoffrey Atieno Okuto at Mombasa High Court in 2020.

| File | Nation Media Group

After losing lawyers, Aisha Jumwa aide’s surety now withdrawn

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa’s aide has been detained months after his surety withdrew a Sh3 million bond used to secure his freedom.

Mr Geoffrey Atieno Okuto will remain at the Port police station until he secures another surety.

Mombasa High Court Judge Anne Ong’injo yesterday ordered the suspects to be detained after failing to secure an alternative bond following the withdrawal of the initial one that stood surety for him in 2020.

The judge noted that since the surety had been discharged, Mr Okuto had no option but to secure another one to enable him to enjoy his freedom pending the hearing and determination of the murder case pending before the court.

“The surety had been discharged. Mr Okuto will remain in custody as he waits for his surety to be approved,” said the judge.

Through his advocate, the suspect pleaded with the court to allow him to enjoy freedom for at least two days as documents he had produced are approved.

Verify documents

He told the court that he had carried the documents but it was unfortunate that the verification required to be done in Homa Bay County, where the documents originated from.

“Allow me to be out on bond to give room for the verification of the documents, which will take a day or two,” he pleaded with the court.

Mr Okuto told the court that at least a day or two was reasonable to enable him to liaise with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Homa Bay County to verify the documents.

However, the judge declined, noting that the initial surety had been discharged hence he could not be left free without any surety in place to guarantee his availability.  Justice Ongi’njo also declined the request, saying that Mr Okuto has had adequate time to find an alternative surety after the initial was discharged.

Court records show that the initial surety, a relative to Ms Jumwa, withdrew the security to enable her to sell the property and proceed for further studies abroad.

Deposited logbook

The surety had deposited a logbook in court.  In the application for withdrawal, the surety said the car could not be sold because its logbook was deposited in court to secure Mr Okuto's freedom.

Further, the surety said she needed to sell the car to get funds to finance her studies abroad.

After hearing this application, the court discharged the surety, exposing Mr Okuto to arrest and detention.

This is the second time Mr Okuto has suffered a blow since they were jointly charged with Ms Jumwa.  In July last year, Mr Okuto suffered yet another blow after Ms Jumwa withdrew all the five our advocates that had previously represented them.

Lawyers Jared Magolo, Cliff Ombeta, Danstan Omari, and Shadrack Wamboi stopped representing Mr Okuto after receiving instructions from Ms Jumwa.

Previously, the five lawyers represented them at the plea and application for bond stage and throughout the pre-trial process.

This decision left Mr Okuto with no legal representation, further frustrating the commencement of the case. Mr Okuto was forced to appoint his own advocate. But the hearing of the case is yet to commence since the duo pleaded to the charge in 2020.

Ms Jumwa and Mr Okuto are accused of killing Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporter Jola Ngumbao during campaigns for the Ganda Ward by-election in 2019.

Caused chaos

The state has accused the two of committing the offense on October 15, 2019. They have, however, denied the charge.

The court has been informed that the deceased, who was an uncle of Ganda ward MCA Reuben Katana was shot dead when Ms Jumwa, Mr Okuto, and their supporters allegedly stormed the home of Mr Katana and caused chaos.

Ms Jumwa last week filed an application before the court seeking to have the murder case transferred for trial before the lower court.

She has argued that this will enable her to exhaust all available channels of appeal in the unlikely event that she is convicted before the lower court.

She has argued that in the current arrangement, only the Court of Appeal (CoA) is available for her in case she is convicted of murder before the High Court, where the trial is currently being conducted.

Ms Jumwa seeks to “correct” what she has termed as a historical mistake, where murder cases are tried before the High Court yet there are no legal or statutory requirements that the same should commence at the High Court.

The case will be heard from April 15.


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