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Judiciary releases the status of Paul Mackenzie pending Court Cases

The Judiciary has released the status of pending cases that are before the court regarding the charges preferred against Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge of Good News International Ministries in Malindi and his co-accused on the offence of mass deaths and sufferings.

The Judiciary while offering its deep sympathy to the families, relatives and friends of victims affected by the unravelling mass deaths, sufferings and injuries at Shakahola Village in Kilifi County said the court has released the statement to share and update members of the public on the cases.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms, the Judiciary stated that upon perusal of the court files pending in court of Good News International Ministries in Malindi, mentioned that the Pastor first case was on October 17, 2017.

He was charged for radicalisation, promoting extreme beliefs, offering education in unregistered institutions, failing to take his children to compulsory primary and secondary education and failing to provide the children with education.

In 2019, the Pastor with a number of his followers faced other charges at the Malindi Magistrate’s Court on various occasions with child neglect.

During the hearings, complaints against Pastor Mackenzie and his co-accused were also discussed by stakeholders in the Justice chain led by the then Presiding Judge at the Malindi Law Courts under the auspice of the Kilifi County Court Users Committee (CUC) in its Quarterly meeting of  November 15, 2019.

CUC discussed the issue of radicalisation of children by Pastor Mackenzie through his church and TV station of which the issue was escalated to the National Government Implementation Committee and the Communications Authority.

“CUC was advised that the matter had been forwarded to the Cabinet for discussion in the coming weeks. Subsequently, the TV station’s license was revoked by the Communications Authority,” said the statement.

However, CUC stated that they did not receive feed-back on the proposal to have the church de-registered and the decision by the Cabinet on the issue.

Pastor Mackenzie is facing another criminal case at the Malindi Law Court where he has been jointly charged with Winne Alexander Gandi and Betty Mwaka with the offence of offering Basic Education in Malindi Sub County in an unregistered institution contrary of the Basic Education Act.

In this case the accused entered into a plea bargain with the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) where they were discharged by the trial court and ordered to be of good behaviour.

The Pastor also faces four counts in a criminal case at the Malindi law Court in a case of 2017 for radicalisation, offering basic education in an unregistered institution, failing  to take his/her child to compulsory primary and secondary education ,at Furunzi area of Malindi Sub County jointly failed to take his children to school as required by law.

Others charges are failing to provide right to education of a child on diverse dates between 28.08.2017 and 29.09.2017 in Furunzi area of Malindi Sub County jointly with others where he failed to provide his children namely aged 13, 4 and 5 years with their right to education, which is the responsibility of the parents.

At the hearing, Pastor Mackenzie pleaded not guilty, however, the prosecution opposed bail and the court ordered that care and protection files be opened for the children and also a pre bail report be filed.

On 19.10.2017 the court granted the accused conditional cash bail of Sh100, 000 in the alternative bond of Sh500000 with one surety and upon release be reporting to the Officer Commanding Station Malindi each week. The court also ordered that the matter be heard on priority basis as it was a public interest matter.

The matter was heard and determined of which the accused was acquitted on 29.10.2021 under Section 210 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Mackenzie is also facing another criminal case vs State where he is charged with three counts jointly with others for incitement to disobedience of the law on 1.04.2019 in Malindi Township where he was found in possession of cinema topographic films intended to incite children against attending school and incited Christians against Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.

He was also charged for the offence of being in possession and distributing films to the public which had not been examined and classified by Kenya Film Classification Board.

On diverse dates between 01.01.2019 and 11.04.2019 at Good News International Church in Malindi Township jointly with others not before court they were found in possession and exhibition of films to the Public through Times Television which had not been examined and classified by Kenya Films Classification Board.

“He was also operating a filming studio and producing films without valid filming license from Kenya Films Classification Board for public consumption without first registering as a film agent and acquiring filming license,” said the statement.

The accused pleaded not guilty and the prosecution objected to bail/bond but the Court declined the application and granted the accused cash bail of Sh500, 000.00 and in the alternative bond of Sh1, 000,000.00 with one surety.

The matter is coming up for defence hearing on June 26, 2023.

Judiciary says that the State made an application in a criminal case in 2017 to hold Pastor Mackenzie and 20 others for 30 days on grounds that they were to carry out investigations for radicalisation of children after they were found with 73 children in a church in what was believed to have been a radicalisation process.

During the hearing of the case, the court ordered age assessment to be done for four of the suspects who were found to be minors and an order for care and protection was issued and allowed the other suspects to be held for a period of seven days for further investigations.

On  March  23,this year the State moved to court seeking for orders to hold Pastor Mackenzie for a period of 14 days for being connected to murder of two children who had succumbed to starvation and suffocation at Shakahola and buried in a shallow grave.

The matter was heard and the respondent released on a cash bail of  Sh10, 000.00 and ordered to report to the police station as and when required to aid in investigations.

During the hearing, the ODPP filed a Review of the Orders to the High court which was dismissed for lack of merit.

This year on  April 17, the State moved to court to seek for orders to allow the chief pathologist exhume remains of 14 unknown bodies buried at Shakahola for post mortem, toxicology in a case where Mackenzie and 13 others have been accused of the offence.

The matter was heard and orders were granted for exhumation, post mortem, toxicology and DNA testing.

The State also sought for orders to hold the 14 respondents for 30 days on April 17 alleging that they were linked to the offences of murder, suicide, manslaughter, conspiracy to kill, criminal recklessness and negligence, abducting in order to confine, accessories to the fact, child cruelty, child neglect, attempted suicide among others.

The matter was heard where the court ordered that seven suspects remain in police custody for a period of 14 days pending completion of investigations while  seven others were to remain in police custody for a period of 7 days and the matter of which their mention will be  on  May 2, 2023.

The State is also seeking for further exhumation orders on the 800 acres of land owned by Pastor Mackenzie at Shakahola together with orders for DNA, postmortem and toxicology tests for any bodies that would be found buried in a court case filed on April 25, 2023.

The application was allowed and further directed that the exhumation is limited to the 800 acres of land at Shakahola as mapped out by the scene of crime experts.

There is also a case in court where 43 children ranging from 1 year to 13 years among them  Pastor  Mackenzie’s three  children who had been rescued from Good News International Church-Mayungu where they had been locked and were not going to school but receiving religious teachings.

This matter was heard on October 18, 2017 and after considering the Children Officer’s report, the court allowed the children who were being held at Mayungu Children Centre (safe space) to be released back to their families after counselling and medical care.

The government has sent a rescue team and deployed security personnel to Shakahola village in Kilifi County to search and rescue operations in a bid to find followers of Pastor Mackenzie those alive and those buried at his farm.

By Bernadette Khaduli

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