Paul Mackenzie

Suspected Malindi-based cult leader Paul Mackenzie and his 17 co-accused will continue staying in police custody for five more days.

Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda said he will deliver a ruling on whether the state will be allowed to hold the suspects for 90 more days on Wednesday, May 10.

The suspects will be held in Malindi, Marereni and Watamu Police stations.

Mackenzie, the leader of the Good News International Church, is facing serious crimes of murder, counselling and aiding persons to kill themselves, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud and money laundering, complained of mistreatment in the hands of police.

He is yet to be charged officially.

On Friday, the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigation (ODPP) filed an application before the Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda to continue holding Mackenzie and others for 90 days.

According to the DPP, the 14-day period that they had initially been granted by a Malindi Court to hold Mackenzie and the co-accused proved to be grossly insufficient because of the evolving nature of the case and the lines of inquiry that are being pursued.

Senior principal prosecution counsel Jami Yamina told the Shanzu Court that they need more time to conclude their investigations because things are changing every day.

“When the investigation kicked off, we thought it was only 14 bodies, we are now past 100 bodies and the number is still growing. The respondents are all adherents of Good News International and we believe they still hold onto the extreme religious beliefs,” said Yamina.

Yamina also told the court that for the safety of the accused persons, the police should be granted the 90 days request. He cited an incident whereby angry Malindi residents stormed Mackenzie’s home on Monday.

“For their (accused persons) own safety, they might not be welcomed back. We do not want this matter to end in mob justice because of so many families that are grieving,” he said.