Two more charged with SGR vandalism

Samuel Kamau (left) and Athanus Mwanzia at the Mombasa Law Courts, where they pleaded not guilty to five charges of sabotaging the economy by damaging the standard gauge railway. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Two more men were on Tuesday charged with vandalising a section of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway.

11 others, including scrap metal dealers, had earlier been charged with offences related to the destruction of the railway line. The State said it believed the scrap metal dealers masterminded the sabotage.

On Monday, the court imposed stringent bail conditions requiring each of the 11 people to pay Sh6 million bond and a surety in the same amount or a cash bail of Sh3 million.

Appearing before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Francis Kyambia, Athanus Mwanzia and Samuel Kamau denied the sabotage charges preferred against them.

The SGR train was two weeks ago launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The two denied that on May 26, at Kivinduni in Mwavumbo location of Kinango sub-county in Kwale County, they wilfully and unlawfully damaged the SGR line.

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Court documents

According to court documents, they were accused of endangering people’s lives by destroying the SGR railway line, knowing that their act would impair the usefulness of the railway, which is essential to the community.

The two also faced charges of destruction of infrastructure, engaging in organised crime, and handling stolen goods. They denied all the charges.

Mwanzia and Kamau also denied dealing in scrap metal without a licence.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions objected to their release on bail pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

State Counsel David Masila told the court that if released, the accused would abscond court hearings.

He asked the court to consider the nature of the offence the accused persons were facing as it examined their bail application.

Mr Masila also informed the accused that if found guilty, the charges of economic sabotage would attract life imprisonment.

“Other suspects have yet to be arrested and if granted bail, the accused persons will interfere with investigations,” said Masila.

He added that the timing of the crime clearly manifested their intention to sabotage the launching of the railway.

Bail application

The court will today make a decision on their bail application. Mwanzia and Kamau had nothing to say on the prosecution’s attempt to block their bail application.

Peterson Matunda, Benard Maina, Moses Wanyama, David Musyoki, Nicholas Muthuku and six others have denied 10 counts, among them destruction of infrastructure.

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