TV show personality Jeff Koinange,Nicholas maraaro and his lawyer Edwin Sifuna chatting as they waited for ruling to be delivered which ruled Koinange to be released on a cash bill of Sh 100,000.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Seasoned TV show personality Jeff Koinange on Tuesday escaped jail by a whisker after the court released him on a cash bail of Sh100, 000.
Mr Koinange is facing contempt of court charges for failing to appear in person before the Chief Magistrate’s Court in a defamation suit filed by tycoon Jimi Wanjigi. The talk-show host was arrested yesterday morning outside his Nairobi home, five days after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Resident magistrate Maisy Chesang ordered last Thursday that Mr Koinange be arrested alongside businessman Tony Gachoka after they failed to attend a defamation suit. Acting Chief Magistrate Linus Kassan held that the cash bail is sufficient to guarantee Mr Koinange’s presence in future proceedings.
However, the arrest warrant against political adviser Tony Gachoka is still in force who together with Koinange allegedly committed court contempt in KTN’s JKL show.
Senior Principal Magistrate Linus Kassan released Koinange at 3pm after being held for more than seven hours at Milimani Law Courts, Upper Hill, and Nairobi.
Though Koinange was not thrown into the cells, he was held at the prosecutions chambers after being arrested while leaving his Kitsuri home in the city.
“If someone can be arrested four days after a warrant is issued, that person can be termed as a flight risk. Having considered all arguments I order that Mr Koinange be released on Sh100,000 cash bail,” Mr Kassan ruled.
Kassan said since Koinange was arrested four days after the warrant was issued, it would be unfair to jail for the court contempt while he has filed another suit at the High Court challenging their arrest.
“Since there is a judicial review suit at the High Court, the contemnor is released on a cash bail of Sh100, 000 before he appears on the presiding magistrate on May 25,” he said.
He warned Koinange to respect the court saying though he is a public figure everybody must respect it.
Lawyer Nicholas Nyamai had earlier told the court that they wanted to arrest Koinange on May 14 as he was conducting JKL show at Intercontinental Hotel but he protested on the live broadcast that court bailiffs wanted to arrest him thwarting their efforts.
“After the announcement, we had to back-off and Koinange has been playing hide and seek since then,” the lawyer said.
On Wednesday, Justice Weldon Korir of the High Court will hear a case in which Koinange and Gachoka are questioning the jurisdiction of SRM Maisy Chesang who issued a warrant of arrest against the duo.
Both Jeff and Gachoka want the High Court to quash an arrest warrant issued against them for failing to appear for the hearing of a defamation suit filed by tycoon Jimmy Wanjigi.
Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka have filed a suit seeking to stop their arrest arguing that the Chief Magistrate’s Court issued the order unlawfully as it does not have the authority to hear and determine contempt of court cases. The two also claim they were never furnished with the court summons.
Senior Resident Magistrate Maisy Chesang ordered for their arrest last Thursday after they failed to appear in person for the hearing of a suit Mr Wanjigi filed against them. Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka now say they risk being jailed over an irregularly issued court order and without a fair hearing.
“The Chief Magistrate’s court lacks jurisdiction to try, determine and punish for contempt. Ms Chesang issued the order on the face of record before court that Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka had never been served with any court order,” the two said.
Mr Wanjigi had earlier sued Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka in the lower court for allegedly linking his firm-Kwacha Group of Companies-to the Anglo-Leasing scandal that saw taxpayers lose over Sh50 billion in irregular contracts awarded by the government.
Mr Koinange and Mr Wanjigi are alleged to have uttered the defamatory statements in two different episodes-on May 15 last year and on March 12 and 13 this year.
The tycoon, his brother Sani and Kwacha are the complainants in the civil case before Ms Chesang. They claim Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka used defamatory remarks against them in a talk show hosted on a local TV station.
They hold that Mr Koinange and Mr Gachoka do not deserve the court’s audience on the arrest order as they have on several occasions in the past frustrated the hearing of the suit before Ms Chesang
The two allegedly discussed a defamation case which is in court against the Standard Media Group in which Koinange and Gachoka allegedly linked Jimi to the Sh56 billion scandal of Anglo-Leasing during the JKL show aired on March 12.
The scandal hit former President Kibaki’s first days in power.
The orders to arrest Koinange and Gachoka were issued after the two allegedly discussed Kwacha Group of Companies in which Jimi is a director despite having been served with orders.
The judge on Monday ordered the two to serve the Attorney General in their defamation case with tycoon Jimi Wanjigi.
The judge also ordered Koinange and Gachoka to serve Chesang.