DPP Tobiko, Senator Sonko intervene to secure release of 87-year-old granny

Risper Ongwena, 87, arrives in court for a mention of her case
Risper Ongwena, 87, arrives in court for a mention of her case

The 87-year-old woman remanded for allegedly stealing two plastic chairs has been released after her story aired on Citizen TV Tuesday night.

The story elicited sharp reactions from Kenyans on social media who were dissatisfied with the Judiciary’s handling of the case where the woman, Risper Ongwena, was accused of stealing the chairs worth Ksh550 each.

Following the story, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko moved swiftly to ensure the release of the woman by issuing an order for the case to be dismissed and the matter be settled out of court.

Reports indicate that despite DPP Tobiko’s orders however, the paperwork involved impeded the clearance process keeping the granny in remand for at least five more hours.

The Senator’s team, together with Migori politician Solomon Odoh and other well-wishers camped outside the Migori GK Prison to demand for the granny’s release.

According to Senator Mbuvi’s Personal assistant George Omollo, the team arrived in Rongo at 7:30am Wednesday and settled the Ksh5,000 cash bail imposed by the court in order to secure the granny’s release.

“We paid the Ksh5,000 cash bail and were given the release order. After we had made bail, the State Counsel said there were orders from the DPP and Chief Justice demanding for the release of the granny, though these orders were not immediately effected,” he said.

“The granny was not released until five hours later when she was driven to Migori for clearance. It is shocking that she has been held for two months and yet State organs had to wait for public pressure for them to respond.”

The Senator further promised to cater for the woman’s medical expenses in addition to buying her personal items.

Solomon Odoh has expressed disappointment with the manner in which the granny’s case was handled calling for sobriety in the hearing of such sensitive cases.

“Government’s handling of this case has left a lot to be desired. It was sad to see the police rushing the granny up and down yet the issue could have been easily handled.”

Ongwena spent the entire festive season in remand waiting for the court to determine her innocence after her grandson who allegedly stole the chairs left them at her house and took off.

In her narration of the events, Margaret Onyango, the accused’s daughter, said that the grandson had left the stolen chairs behind the house and escaped to an unknown location, leading to the arrest of his grandmother.

Onyango said they failed to get their granny released because they could not make bail or get money to hire a lawyer to represent her.

The granny is expected in court on January 19, 2016.

By @benjaminwafula

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