A court in Nairobi ordered a suspect, who has been on the run since December 2018, detained until a forgery case against him is heard and determined.
The suspect, Alvin Okulo Owino, was arraigned on Wednesday before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Zainab Abdul.
Owino was charged in 2018 and released on cash bail. After his release, he went underground and skipped court dates.
When asked where he had been by the magistrate, Owino claimed he had been admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia.
“The court records show that after you took plea on December 4, 2018 you have never turned up in court for mentions and trial of your case. Where were you?” Ms Abdul asked the accused.
“Your honour, when I left court I fell sick and was admitted to the Mater Hospital for four months from March 2019. I was taken ill again and admitted to hospital,” Owino said.
The magistrate asked the accused whether the person who stood bail for him knew about the hospitalisations.
Owino responded in the negative.
“Who paid your cash bail of Sh200,000?” Ms Abdul asked.
“My father Nicholas Ragot Owino paid the cash bail and also signed as a contact person,” Owino answered.
Asked whether his father knew about his ailment and hospitalisation, he answered “No, I did not tell my father. My wife also did not relay the information to my relatives.”
The magistrate asked: “Was it a top secret that you were sick and none of your relatives knew?”
The accused kept quiet.
The accused showed the court a letter from the hospital but State Prosecutor Kennedy Panyako said it could not be believed given that the “accused is facing forgery charges.”
He asked the court to disregard it.
The prosecutor asked the court to remand the suspect saying he is a flight risk.
Mr Panyako told the court that Owino’s father was arrested last Thursday and detained until he produced his son to face justice.
“The father of the accused is in custody. I apply for his release because the suspect was re-arrested,” Mr Panyako said.
The suspect’s brother told the court that he does not know where his brother lives.
The magistrate wondered how the accused could be admitted in hospital and none of his relatives knew, including his father.
In her ruling, the magistrate rejected the accused’s explanation that he was unwell and admitted in hospital.
“There are no discharge summary notes from the hospital that the investigating officer can verify with the hospital,” Ms Abdul said.
She said the accused is a flight risk and ordered he remains in custody until April 20 when the case will be mentioned for further directions.
Ms Abdul directed the accused to be remanded at Central Police Station because outsiders are not allowed in prison custody following the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Owino is charged with forging a local purchase order (LPO) by Smollan Kenya Limited for supply of 17 laptops valued at Sh3,549,000.