After spending days in remand, the suspects implicated in the National Youth Services cases came to the courtroom hoping to leave and join their kin.
Some of the relatives came prepared with money to post bail while others were ready to stand surety for their loved ones. But when chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti delivered his ruling, denying the 43 suspects bail, the sad reality set in.
The suspects wore forlorn faces while their relatives could not believe it. Murmurs in court and passionate applications by their lawyers could not change the magistrate’s heart. He had decided that they will remain in remand until their cases were concluded.
Mr Ogoti said although the suspects were presumed innocent, economic sabotage is injurious to the public. The magistrate said economic crime is well designed and calculated scheme and for a profit, unlike murder, which an accused person does at the heat of the moment.
He said the media was awash with cases of serious economic crimes, posing a serious threat to the financial health of the nation.
“Economic offences constitute a class apart and the need to be visited with a different approach in the matter of bail.
“The economic offence having deep-rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds needs to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threats to the financial health of the country and in my opinion and finding which can lead to anarchy, threat to peace and threat to national security.
Mr Ogoti said all the accused persons face joint charges and some appear in all the 10 files while others in one of two files.
According to him, the court must balance the matter without appearing to discriminative of any of the accused person.
He said an individual should be aware that there are legal consequences when one plunders public funds. He added that bail is only automatic where the offences attract only a fine and where the jail term is a maximum of six months.