A Kiambu Court has declined to issue detention orders against 28 Department of Civil Registration employees and three nurses for police to complete investigations.
Instead Kiambu law courts Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi granted each of the suspects a cash bail of Sh 250,000.
The suspects are being investigated for forgery of birth and death certificates.
The magistrate dismissed the application seeking to detain the suspects for 10 days to allow police to complete investigations saying the prosecution did not table compelling reasons to warrant the said orders.
“I hereby direct the suspects to be reporting to the investigators any day as when they are required to assist in the probe,” Gichohi ruled.
Among those caught in the web are three nurses from St Francis Hospital, deputy registrar director Paul Kagiri, principal civil registration officer Charity Mwadime, her assistant Jane Wangari Maina, principal records management officer Charles Akwoni and other employees.
In the application, the police said the needed time to visit all the counties countrywide to collect evidence into offences of forgery, fraud and abuse of office.
Defence lawyers led by former LSK chairman Eric Mutua and Brian Khaemba opposed the application saying no compelling reasons had been tabled by the prosecution to warrant such amount of days.
The 31 were arrested last Friday during an operation led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who said that corrupt officials at the Department colluded with private hospitals in Nairobi to build a multimillion-shilling syndicate that took over the issuing of the said certificated and forced millions of Kenyans to pay huge bribes to acquire the crucial documents.
Matiang’i said the ICT problem had been deliberately created to slow down or jam processes, creating an artificial backlog so that anyone who wants to be fast racked has to pay a bribe in order to jump the queue.
He said that those who could not bribe their way through the criminal system waited for as long as six months before they could get birth or death certificates for their loved ones.
The syndicate had allegedly recruited key contacts in several private hospitals who fed it with fake birth notifications which are then used to issue birth certificates to their clients, including foreigners.