The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji, on Tuesday, April 25, released a preliminary report of the ongoing investigations into the mysterious deaths at Shakahola forest in Kilifi County.
In a statement, Haji stated that the investigation was still underway, even as he ordered police to map out property owned by controversial Preacher Paul Mackenzie.
Haji explained that Mackenzie's property may in the future be seized if he will be charged with murder, aiding persons to kill themselves, and terrorism.
"The ODPP has directed investigation officers to identify the assets of the suspects herein for purposes of preservation, confiscation and forfeiture in accordance with the law.
"Preliminary investigations indicate that the suspects may have been promoting radical belief systems for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious or social change contrary to Section 12D of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012," Haji stated.
The expansive 800-acre piece of Shakahola forest land is at the centre of joint investigations, where over 90 bodies had been exhumed following a court order.
Haji also alleged that Pastor Mackenzie used his Good News International Church cult to carry out hidden criminal activities in the Shakahola forest in Kilifi County and beyond.
"He is in violation of various statutes such as the Penal Code, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the International Crimes Act, the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act, among others," Haji claimed.
DPP expressed shock and horror, noting that the controversial preacher had misled his followers into believing lies, eventually leading to their death.
However, Kilifi County Governor Gideon Mung'aro noted that Mackenzie did not own the land on which Good News International Church members had been carrying out religious activities as accused.
"That land which Mackenzie is occupying is not his; we have three schemes in that area which were initially grabbed by some individuals from the Chakama ranchers," Governor Mung'aro stated.
Mung'aro noted that the County government recovered part of the Shakahola forest after it was grabbed by private developers, including Mackenzie, who took advantage of his influence over the local community.
“When I was Malindi MP, we managed to recover Phase 1 which is about 52,000 acres. We recovered Phase 2 around five years ago. The area he (Mackenzie) is occupying is Chakama 3 which is currently being contested for by the people who grabbed it and the bank," Mung'aro revealed.
The Kilifi Governor also absolved himself from any blame over the death of more than 90 people, stating that security agents such as the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and the National Police Service (NPS) were responsible for unearthing criminals and any cults operating under the guise of churches.
"Security issues are not under the county but rather security apparatuses. Only they can help us unravel such cases. We didn't know that all this was going on,” Mung'aro stated.
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