Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti has recused himself from the trial against Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal and 13 others after the suspects complained of bias.
The suspects through lawyer Paul Nyamondi, said they had been prejudged even before the case was heard. They made the application when they appeared before the magistrate for plea taking.
In a short ruling, Mr Ogoti said that although his conscience was clear, he would not cling to the case.
The suspects said the judge has shown bias towards them and a strong opinion about the case.
Mr Lenolkulal was on Tuesday slapped with a cash bail of Sh100 million — the highest ever in the country — after denying Sh84 million corruption charges.
Mr Ogoti also gave him an equally harsh alternative, to deposit a bond of Sh150 million plus one surety of the same amount.
But the High Court reduced the bail terms for Samburu county boss by Sh90 million after he applied for review.
Mr Lenolkulal walked back to freedom on Thursday after spending two nights in remand.
The suspects will appear before Senior Principal Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi for plea taking Friday.
They are accused of conspiracy to commit the offence of corruption, which led to unlawful payment of, to Mr Lenolkulal through a petrol station known as Oryx Service Station. It is alleged that the committed the offence between March 27, 2013 and March 25, 2019 in Maralal town.
By SAM KIPLAGAT / Nation Kenya
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