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Controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie to be detained for 2 weeks

A Malindi preacher who has been in the public limelight for allegedly influencing his followers to fast to death will remain in police custody for 14 more days to allow time for completion of investigations.

Pastor Paul Nthenge Makenzi of the Good News International church appeared before Malindi Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui, Monday afternoon but was not required to plead to any charge, with the prosecution seeking for 30 more days to hold him.

Makenzi will be held in custody for 14 days alongside six of his followers while another seven, who the prosecution described as victims as they had refused to eat even while in police custody, will be held for seven days for counselling.

Ms Usui cancelled a Sh10, 000 police bond granted to Makenzi in an earlier case in which the preacher was suspected to have been involved in the deaths of two minors through his influence.

She said a request by one of the victims to be released to go and continue with his prayers and fasting in Shakahola was evident enough that such activities were still going on in the area and that releasing the suspects could lead to witness interference.

One of the suspects who the prosecution identified as a victim has directly asked the court to release him so that he returns to the place that is known to be first respondent’s land in Shakahola to continue with his fast.

“This outrightly confirms that the activities are still taking place at the said place

and unless the suspects, especially the first respondent, are held in custody, there is a likelihood of interference with the witnesses and a likelihood that more unlawful activities may take place,” the magistrate said.

She noted that although the suspects had not been charged, the court found compelling reasons to allow the police to continue holding the suspects for more days until they complete the investigations.

Sergeant Joseph Yator, in a miscellaneous application, had requested the court to allow the police to hold Pastor Makenzi and six of his followers for 30 days to complete investigations into the matter.

Makenzi’s lawyer, Mr. George Kariuki put spirited fight for the pastor, saying the prosecution had not demonstrated whether the people alleged to be starved by the pastor had started eating following his arrest last Friday and that the allegation of people not eating had not been supported by any medical report.

He said the prosecution’s claims were merely to convince the court to cancel the Sh10, 000 police cash bail and added that his client was ready to stay away from Kilifi County for the entire 30 days being sought to allow the investigators to do their jobs without interference.

He said the police had not made use of orders already issued by the court to exhume the bodies of the alleged victims of starvation and there was no guarantee that holding the suspects longer would enable the officers to do so.

Senior Public Prosecution Counsel Vivian Kambaga however said the prosecution had demonstrated in the affidavits why the police believe the suspects would interfere with the investigations and applied for the cancellation of the police cash bail.

She said officers were also investigating allegations of money laundering in respect to the alleged 800 acres owned by pastor Makenzi.

Those arraigned in court included Pastor Makenzi, Robert Kahindi Katana, Alfred Asena, Sanga Stephen Muye, Gideon Mbithi Kioko, Joseph Kenga Mbogoli, Stephen Ominde Lwangu, Collins Kabae, Felix Wandera, David Mbaya, Mercy Auko, Jane Nyaboke, Paul Karisa and Allan Robiko.

Meanwhile, seven more victims of the alleged cult were rescued Sunday night and taken to the Malindi police station for interrogation following an operation led by the residents of Shakahola and Adu Ward Representative Samson Zia.

By Emmanuel Masha

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