The high court in Mombasa on Wednesday cleared Lamu governor Issa Timamy over allegations of murder and forceful transfer of populations during attacks in Lamu and Tana River in June and July that left over 90 people dead.
Timamy was arrested after the killings which al shabaab islamists claimed responsility for, and prosecutors said they intended to charge him for the killings and other terrorism related offenses.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the attacks were the works of both al shabaab and local political networks.
Judge Martin Muya made the order after rejecting a bid by the office of Director of Public Prosecutions to extend the period given to conduct investigations against the governor.
Last week, prosecution led by Alexander Muteti sought more time from the court, saying the state had not completed investigations and the matter had a lot of complexities.
Muteti had however told the court that more than 100 witness statements had been recorded, and that they would prefer charges only when they were sure that Timamy and the victims of the attacks would get justice.
Judge Muya ordered that khs 5 million deposited in court as cash bail for Timamy be returned.
He told the prosecution that they were at liberty to press charges afresh against the governor when they were ready.
A happy Timamy was met by jubilant supporters outside the court, and said the truth had set him free.
“I still insist that I had nothing to do with the killings. Why would I kill my own people?” Timamy said as the crowd cheered.
A dawn-to-dusk curfew declared in the area by the inspector general of police David Kimaiyo after the attacks is still in force.