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Court returns Jirongo's passport in Sh50m fraud case

RICHARD MUNGUTIBy RICHARD MUNGUTI
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A Nairobi court on Wednesday returned former presidential candidate Cyrus Jirongo’s passport to enable him to travel to South Sudan to attend to his business.

The passport of the former Lugari legislator had been surrendered to the court amid investigations into a Sh50 million fraud case that dates back to 28 years ago.

Mr Jirongo’s lawyer Danstan Omari noted that he travels to South Sudan every fortnight so it would be cumbersome to keep returning to court for the passport.

JURISDICTION

Mr Omari further told Chief magistrate Francis Andayi, “The accused is not a flight risk. He is a presidential candidate and will always turn up in court for his trial.”

He also pleaded with Mr Andayi for the protection of his client’s rights, saying he had been of good conduct, and pointed out that the case is one of the oldest – the offence was allegedly committed in 1991.

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Prosecutor Angela Vuchala opposed the plea to return the passport, saying Mr Jirongo would likely leave the court’s jurisdiction.

But Mr Andayi overruled the prosecution’s objection and returned the accused’s travel document.

He, however, directed Mr Jirongo to be appearing in court with the passport whenever the case is mentioned.

THE CHARGES

It is alleged that with intent to defraud, Mr Jirongo induced Post Bank Credit Limited to accept a bank charge for a parcel of land registered in the name of Soy Developers Limited, which he used to obtain an overdraft of Sh50 million for his company Cyber Projects International.
It is further alleged that he forged a bank cheque and then claimed it was genuine and had been signed by his former business partner, Mr Sammy Kogo.

The last count states that he gave false information to Mr Maxwell Otieno, a police officer – that he had paid Sh7 million to the late Jonathan Moi as the balance to acquire Soy.

It is alleged that he committed this offence on March 27, 2015.

Mr Jirongo denied the fraud charges and was released on a cash bail of Sh200,000.

The case will be mentioned on October 11.