Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi was on Thursday charged with willfully and unlawfully exposing the public while suffering from an infectious disease (COVID-19) contrary to the Public Health Act.
Appearing before Senior Resident Magistrate Ritah Amwayi at Mombasa Law Courts, Saburi denied the charges.
The Magistrate directed that the DG be detained at Port Police station till Wednesday, April 15 when the court is expected to receive a file on his COVID-19 status.
The court had earlier dismissed the prosecution’s application to hold the DG at Manyani Prison for 14 days pending investigations citing violation of the accused’s rights.
“This court does not have any medical documents in relation to the respondent (Saburi) upon which this court can rely on and order that he be taken to isolation,” Amwayi ruled, adding that the Public Health Act was categorical on steps to be taken before an order for isolation is granted.
Saburi’s legal team had opposed the prosecution’s prayer to detain him for two weeks saying it would be illegal as he has not been charged yet.
Making his submissions, George Kithi said his client should not be forced into isolation as he has never tested positive for COVID-19.
Kithi said Saburi was not arrested because he committed a crime but because President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered so.
The President had on Tuesday said he hoped Saburi gets 10 years in jail for flouting a government directive.
“My client was arrested not because he committed an offence but because the president said so,” said Kithi.
Saburi also rubbished the claim that he was directed to go into self-quarantine after jetting into the county. The DG argued that there is no evidence hence it should not be used in court.
Saburi is accused of carelessly interacting with locals after flying in from Germany, one of the countries affected by COVID-19.
Rabai MP William Kamoti tested positive for the deadly virus after coming into contact with the deputy governor.
Saburi was discharged from Coast General Hospital on Friday after recovering.
He was arrested by at least 20 officers who were waiting for him outside the facility.