A man who has been charged with two counts of trafficking heroin worth Sh28 million has been released on a Sh10 million bond.
Mombasa senior principal magistrate Henry Nyakweba released Bilali Ndechumia, saying he should have two sureties with permanent assets within the geographical jurisdiction of the court.
The magistrate further directed the accused to surrender his passport to the court and report to the Anti-Narcotics Police Unit every two weeks beginning June 16.
“The accused should not leave the geographical jurisdiction of this court without seeking and obtaining permission of this court upon indicating areas to be visited, purpose of the visit and the period such visit will last,” Mr Nyakweba said.
Mr Bilali and his accomplices, who appeared in court, are accused of trafficking 7,600 grams of heroin valued at Sh22.8 million concealed under the water tank of a yacht called the Baby Iris.
The court heard that the offence was committed on April 20, 2015 at Kilindini Port in Mombasa.
It is also alleged that he and the two accomplices trafficked 2,028 grams of the drug valued at Sh6 million by conveying it in a vehicle.
The offence, the court was told, was committed on April 9, 2015 at the Kilifi Boat Yard in Mnarani, Kilifi County.
Senior Prosecution Counsel Daniel Wamotsa had opposed the release of Mr Bilali on bond, arguing he is a flight risk and that the offence is serious.
Prosecutors urged the court to take judicial notice of the fact that drug trafficking has caused adverse effects on the youth in Mombasa.
Through his lawyer Jared Magolo, Mr Ndechumia assured the court that he will attend court during trial.
Mr Magolo also said his client lives in Mombasa with his spouse and child, something, he argued, that would not have occurred if he had been a fugitive.
The court noted that the State, by merely saying the accused was on the run until his arrest in Madagascar, is not sufficient and amounted to conjecture.
The magistrate said he expected to be told whether extradition proceedings had started and their outcome.
He further said the court has to bear in mind that the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence since he has not been subjected to a trial.
“However, the seriousness of the offence has to be considered as the primary issue that will tempt an accused person to flee and avoid such a penalty in case of a conviction,” he argued.
He added that the court has to find a middle ground between the presumption of innocence and the gravity of the offence.
The case will be heard on October 5.