Businesswoman Mary Wambui surrenders after evading arrest

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Wanted businesswoman Mary Wambui Mungai, on Thursday took herself to the Anti-corruption court after she escaped a police dragnet at Weston Hotel, Nairobi on Wednesday night.

The case is before Anti-Corruption Magistrate Felix Kombo.

Wambui appeared in court alongside Purity Njoki Mungai. The two are directors of Purma holdings limited which has been listed as the first accused. 

Their faces were covered but the court ordered they uncover their faces for purposes of plea taking.

The two were represented by lawyers Nelson Havi and Sylvanus Osoro. 

Havi said the purpose of the mention was to present Wambui and Purity in court and explain why they had not done so as directed earlier. 

“Reason why they could not have presented themselves earlier is because Mary was unwell and she is still unwell but upon being instructed yesterday I advised both of them we appear in court today,” he said.

Havi apologised to the court because of the four days that have lapsed, stating that, “It was not pre mediated but because Mary was ill. My clients are very remorseful.”

“Second reason we are here is to have the accused persons take plea on their own capacity and for Purma holding. We are ready to take plea,” he stated.

Charges are currently being read to the accused persons.

Mary Wambui will plead on behalf of Purma.

The three accused have denied all eight counts.

The accused persons are facing eight counts related to failure to pay taxes amounting to Sh2.5 billion that should have been paid through their company, Purma.

State opposed to granting of bail/bond to the accused persons.

Below is a demonstration on why they are opposed to the bail.

On December 3 this year, summons were issued to the accused persons by the I.O for purposes of informing them for intention of arranging them in court.

They failed to honour the said summons.

On December 6, the charges were filed, however, the accused persons were not present in court on an indication that Wambui was admitted at Nairobi Hospital and that Purity was not aware of the summons.

Court proceeded to issue warrants of arrest.

The I.O immediately began making efforts to effect the warrants. The first attempt was when I.O tried to reach them on phone but they were off.

I.O then wrote to Safaricom in an attempt to acquire the call data in respect to the accused persons.

The officer also circulated a signal to all the stations in an attempt to effect the warrant.

On December 8, the matter was mentioned and the advocate on record indicated that Wambui had been attended to at Kiambu Level 4 Hospital.

This contradicted information given on December 6 that she was admitted at Nairobi hospital.

I.O. then received intelligence reports that the accused persons were at Weston hotel.

The I.O went to the said hotel and found the two had again fled from the said premise.

A search was conducted by the I.O’s in the said rooms to verify and confirm that the two accused persons were the ones residing at Weston hotel.

While searching, they found a card that had bank cards and original ID and a temporary permit for the Republic of Zambia which belonged to Wambui.

State says of concern to them is the evidence that the temporary permit is indicated to be valid until 27 of January until 27 January 2022.

“Based on the said evidence, the accused persons have proved to this court that they are indeed a flight risk and can only be compelled to come before you if warrants of arrest are issued,” State says.

But if court is inclined to grant bail, state says strict bond terms should be issued as against the accused persons. Nit only coz of their conduct but gravity of the charges facing them.

State also wants the accused persons be ordered to surrender their passports both Kenyan and alien passports.

Also sought by the state is an order directed to the Director of Immigration prohibiting the exit of the two accused persons either through private or commercial means without the permission of the court.

Havi said refusal to grant bail or bond was never intended to be a pre conviction punishment.

Sole purpose of bail is to secure the attendance of the accused as and when required.

Bail and bond may be refused in exceptional circumstances if there are compelling reasons.

“There are no compelling reasons to deny my clients bail or bond. On respect to the temporary permit held by Wambui for Zambia, that cannot be a reason to categorise her as a flight risk,” Havi said.

“She is a business woman. Zambia is a trading partner for the Republic of Kenya. Its for that reason that she holds the permit.

“Wambui is not a Jon doe. She is well known in Kenya. She has vast ties here and contracts with the government. Nowhere she can run to. We pray for a reasonable amount,” he said.

Havi says a sum of Sh5 million will be a reasonable cash bail.

“My clients are willing and ready to surrender their passports to the court,” he  said.

In a brief rejoinder, the state/prosecution says they have laid foundation on compelling reasons as to why bond should be denied to the accused persons.

Thuguri Judy is the lady from the State/Prosecution team.

“We ask this court to allow our application on bail/bond,” Havi stated.

The ruling has been set for noon.

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