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Holy bailout: Pastor Ezekiel walks free on Sh3m bond

Under-fire cleric Ezekiel Odero has been released on Sh3 million bail or alternative cash bail of Sh1.5 million by a Shanzu court after the state failed to show how his freedom would hinder the collection of evidence, including DNA samples from the bodies of victims of the Shakahola massacre.

Odero was accused of having links to cult leader Paul Mackenzie.

Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Omido ruled that the state had not acted in good faith in seeking to continue Odero’s detention by failing to provide an update on the investigation or whether witness statements had been taken.

The magistrate also ordered Odero to refrain from discussing any matters relating to the incident in public and to report to the investigating officer once a week on a day and time to be agreed upon by the prosecution and defence counsel.

Also read: Bishop Pius Muiru explains special relationship with ‘son’ Pastor Ezekiel Odero

The bail conditions will remain in force until Odero is formally charged or the investigation is completed.

“Parties to the case will be at liberty to apply for closure once investigations are complete,”  Magistrate Omido said.

In his ruling, Magistrate Omido emphasised that the State had failed to show how Odero’s freedom would hinder DNA testing or interfere with witnesses, and that it was not sufficient to state generally that the defendant would do so.

He noted that the State had been given seven days to take statements from key witnesses and should at least have provided sufficient material to demonstrate the steps it had taken to collect these statements.

The ruling comes after Odero spent more than a week in police custody following his arrest in connection with the Shakahola massacre, in which more than 20 people were killed.

Odero was accused of aiding and abetting Mackenzie, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the cult that carried out the massacre. Mackenzie, who was also arrested, remains in custody.

Also read: This man Pastor Ezekiel Odero: From fisherman to wealthy televangelist