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Babu Owino has case to answer in misuse of gun case, court says

Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino has a case to answer over the alleged misuse of a firearm at a nightclub in Kilimani, Nairobi, in January 2020, a court has ruled.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi yesterday ruled that the prosecution had adduced evidence to warrant putting the MP on his defence.

The magistrate said the court was satisfied that the prosecution had established a strong case against the accused, as he rejected the MP’s claim that the prosecution had failed to discharge the burden of proof.

The MP was charged with being disorderly while carrying a gun by firing one bullet with intent to shoot Mr Felix Orinda, popularly known as DJ Evolve, on the night of January 17, 2020 at B-Club.

The prosecution said the MP violated Sections 33 and 31 (1) of the Firearms Act. The penalty for one found guilty is imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding Sh10,000, or both.

His being put on his defence is not an indication that the MP is guilty. It means that the court will require him to tell his side of the story before a ruling can be made as to his guilt or innocence.

Last year the trial court allowed the victim’s decision to withdraw the attempted murder charge, but upheld the prosecution’s objection that the second count on misuse of a firearm could not be withdrawn on the request of the victim.

The defence hearing is scheduled to start on June 15, 2023. Mr Owino is out of custody on bail.

At the time of his release, the trial court prohibited the MP from indulging in alcohol, narcotic drug or substance classified as a drug in a public establishment during the case. He was also barred from commenting on the case in any forum, either in the media or public gathering.

The first count of attempted murder was dropped following an out-of-court settlement with the DJ, where the MP agreed to buy an apartment for the family and have it registered in the name of DJ Evolve and his parents, plus a customised car designed for use by a person with a disability.

The MP also agreed to pay the medical bills and expenses of the victim. At the time of his acquittal by court in December 2021, Mr Owino had paid a medical bill of Sh9.8 million at Nairobi Hospital.

He also agreed to pay a further Sh6.9 million in pending medical bills and nursing care costs.

“As a condition of withdrawal, the MP will purchase an apartment for the victim which will resolve the issue of house rent, and also continue paying for the hospital bills of the victim who comes from a humble background,” said Mr Ochoi in the acquittal ruling.

The MP also agreed to offer financial support to the DJ due to his immobile state.

Another agreement was for the MP to set up a music academy for DJ Evolve when he recovers and is able to use it in order to generate an income.