A former MP has been awarded Sh20m compensation for unlawful detention during the attempted 1982 coup.
Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal ruled that the detention of former Alego-Usonga MP Otieno Mak’Onyango for five years without trial was unconstitutional, illegal and unjustified and that he was entitled to payment of damages for the inhuman act committed by state officers.
“No role can be done by state officers without remedy. Mr Mak’Onyango lost five years without friends or family and the violation of his rights he went through cannot be wished away. Sh20 million is therefore a fairer and reasonable amount to compensate him,” ruled judge Rawal.
The judge, however, absolved former president Moi from any liability, ruling that there was no evidence of personal misconduct in the detention of Mr Mak’Onyango and that it is the Attorney General who should carry the burden of illegal acts perpetrated by the government.
She said that the facts that Mr Mak’Onyan
go was unlawfully held in custody was not in dispute, adding that the AG failed to explain why he was held for 14 days at the GSU headquarters without being told the charges against him and being denied opportunity to talk to his family or his lawyers.
She ruled that the state is solely liable for holding Mr Mak’Onyango in detention without trial even after a chief magistrate directed that he be charged in a court of law.
The judge dismissed the AG's defence that Mr Mak’Onyango’s lawyers had signed a consent to delay his trial for eight months, ruling that an illegality cannot be cured by a consent even if the complainant agreed to it.
She ruled that the state contravened statutory laws by denying the former MP a fair hearing after failing to establish any evidence linking him to the attempted coup.