By Kurgat Marindany
A Kajiado court sentenced 95 Ethiopians arrested on Wednesday, in Amboseli National Park to a total of 47 years and five months or a fine of Sh4, 750,000 for being in the country illegally and without travel documents.
The sentences will however run concurrently as each of the accused was sentenced to six months in jail or an option fine of Sh50,000. None of them had the money to pay the fine and, therefore, they were jailed at Kajiado Prison.
Principle magistrate Patrick Adol Olengo, who delivered the sentence on Wednesday, said the convicts could appeal within 14 days. Olengo ordered that once they pay the fine or serve the full term in jail, they will be repatriated to their country of origin immediately. The suspect were taken to court at about 3pm. The courtroom could not accommodate all of them and some had to stand outside as they listened to the charges being read to them by prosecutor Robinson Cherenje.
The court heard that the Ethiopinas were arrested on Wednesday on the Amboseli/Namanga Road without valid documents. None of them speak English of Kiswahili. The court had to look for an interpreter in Nairobi. The court was recalled after teh interpreter was found. The court heard that the foreigners had been in the country for15 days and that they were destined to Malawi where they had been promised jobs.
The interpreter said the accused complained that they have not been fed by their handlers for the days they have been in the country and wondered why they were taken to court instead of being taken to a hotel to eat. They further argued with the magistrate that their intention was to travel Malawi and they had no business being in the country was it not for the disappearance of their handlers who allegedly escaped with their travel docments.
The accused who are aged between 20 and 28 years and two others aged above 40 said it was their first time to be in the country. Olenge ordered that they be given water and food as they start their sentences. The Principle Magistrate said he had imposed the big fine as a deterrent measure to stop illegal immigrant from entering the country. Tafesse said he is attached to the translation section of Judiciary and have been in the country for the lat 20 years.