Gilgil MP Martha Wangari has urged High Court judge Daniel Ogembo to deny her estranged partner Peter Karanja bail, saying Karanja, who is a suspect in the murder of Tob Cohen, does not have a fixed abode as claimed in his bail application.
Karanja, in his pre-bail report, told the court that his home is in Gilgil Town, where he lives with Martha Wangari.
The MP through her lawyer, George Kimani, however, denies that Karanja owns the said-house.
“The said-house No. 063 in Gilgil Town is my property. He [Karanja] has no right to claim occupancy or ownership of it. Therefore, Karanja cannot persuade the court to free him on ground that he has a fixed abode,” said Wangari in her affidavit.
The lawmaker, however, says she and Karanja are currently embroiled in a court case over the ownership of the Gilgil Town property.
She alleges that Karanja, whom she refers to as an acquaintance and not ex-husband, is trying to “illegally” occupy the house by alleging that they were married through a customary arrangement.
“That is not true. I have never been his wife,” she said, adding: “He was an acquaintance, whom I have since parted ways with, and I can prove that.”
Karanja, however, says he got married to Wangari in 2010 and were blessed with two children.
Their relationship, however, got turbulent a few years ago, leading to their separation, which is yet to be ratified through divorce, said Karanja.
Wangari, on her part, says the only known residence that Karanja can claim is that of his parents at Miti Mingia area in Gilgil.
The MP sought to see Karanja’s pre-bail report.
The accused’s lawyer, however, objected to Wangari’s application, saying she has no direct or indirect interest in the Tob Cohen murder case.
The State also opposed the parliamentarian’s application, saying: “It is not clear what role she wants to play in the case.”
“This [Tob Cohen murder case] is not a divorce case, it is not a land case. The probation officer has captured the marital status of the accused and the current status of the house. It is already before you [Justice Ogembo] for the court to make its decision,” said the State counsel.
In response to the two objections, Wangari said she has a right to seek any public document from any agency, given Article 35 of the Kenyan Constitution allows her to do so.
“The same way the Constitution protects any other Kenyan, I do not need to be invited in any case by the prosecution,” said Wangari through her lawyer.
Karanja’s family pleaded with the court to release him on bail, saying the accused has a permanent residence, is God-fearing and has no history of criminal activities.
The suspect’s sister said Karanja is the sole bread-winner in their family, and that he should be released so that he can continue “paying school fees for our sister who is living with disability”.
Karanja’s kin, led by his father and sister, say should he be freed on bail, the family will sell a 1-acre parcel of land belonging to Karanja’s grandmother so that they can raise the money.
Justice Ogembo rejected Wangari’s plea to have Karanja denied bail.
The suspect’s bail ruling will be made on Tuesday, October 29.