Sang defends invasion of tea farm
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang on Tuesday vowed to proceed with his quest to reclaim Kibwari tea estate land moments after a court set him free.
Mr Sang was presented before Senior Resident Magistrate Beryl Omollo at Kisumu Law Courts where he was charged with malicious damage to property, incitement to violence and abuse of office.
Ms Omollo threw out an application that sought to stop the governor from taking a plea and facing charges, saying it lacked merit.
He was released on a Sh1 million bond and a surety of the same amount or an alternative of Sh500,000 cash bail. The case will be heard on September.
Mr Sang has been in police custody since Monday after he was arrested in Kapsabet over destruction of Kibwari tea estate on Friday and Saturday.
Mr Sang said he had been arrested for protecting public property from land grabbers.
“From tomorrow I will continue constructing a cattle dip on that parcel of land so that it can be completed in the next one month,” he said.
Together with Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, he condemned Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai for defying court orders that had granted his release unconditionally.
“I am angered because I got a court order but the police refused to be served with the papers. The same law enforcers are operating with impunity,” said Mr Sang outside the courts.
On Monday, Eldoret High Court Judge Stephen Githinji issued orders against Mr Sang’s arrest. However, speaking on Monday evening, Kisumu Regional Commander Vincent Makokha denied knowledge of such an order.
“We are not aware of any court injunction stopping the county boss’s arrest, and we will adhere to the 24-hour rule of presenting a suspect before court,” said Mr Makokha.
On the charges levelled against him, Mr Sang claimed that the prosecutor had accused him of invading plot No. LR6070 yet the court order he was issued with indicated that he entered parcel No.LR234.
“This means that all the charges levelled against me are that I entered a different plot,” he said.
And in a dramatic twist Tuesday morning, Chief Magistrate Julius Ng’arng’ar disqualified himself from handling the case citing conflict of interest.
“I may not be in a position to listen to this case because I know the accused at a personal level, I hereby refer him to the duty court,” he said.
The court remained under tight security all day long as hundreds of Mr Sang’s supporters awaited his release.