11 suspects accused of SGR vandalism charged with economic sabotage

Eleven people who were arrested in connection to vandalism of the multibillion-shilling Standard Gauge Railway line were on Friday charged with sabotage, destruction of infrastructure and engaging in organised criminal activity, the Business Daily reports.

Seven of the accused were charged with dealing in scrap metal without a license contrary to the Scrap Metal Act.

The 11 appeared before Mombasa senior principal magistrate Lillian Tsuma Lewa and denied the charges.

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti opposed the release of the accused on bond.

Muteti said the timing of the destruction manifests the intention to sabotage the launch of the railway service, the report said.

Mr Muteti further argued that the offence of sabotage attracts a sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction; hence it may tempt the accused to escape should they be released on bond.

“The nature of the offence the accused face is a key consideration when courts grants bail,” said Mr Muteti adding that the destruction of infrastructure is a threat to the economy, the report quotes him say.

According to the report, the accused also allegedly also acted jointly in the commission of destruction of infrastructure for purpose of obtaining financial benefit.

According to the prosecution, the offences were committed on May 26 at Kavinduni area, Kinango Sub-County, Kwale.

The court will deliver a ruling on Monday next week whether the accused will be released on bond or not.