Appeal to have Gachagua graft case start in June
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DOO) Noordin Haji yesterday lodged a fresh application seeking to have the Sh7.4 billion corruption case against Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua commence in June and not September as earlier scheduled.
Haji, through State Counsel Vera Khamisi, yesterday urged Trial Magistrate Rose Makungu to vary her earlier directive to have the case kick off from June.
“We have instructions from the DPP that in the interest of justice, the court reviews hearing dates it had given for the month of September to earlier dates in June as the offences are economic crimes that should be disposed off early,” Khamisi said.
Khamisi further held that the application is based on grounds that all matters of Anti-Corruption and Economic crimes are expected to be heard and determined within three years.
“A matter of this nature should be dealt with within three years and with the trial on September, one year would have passed, leaving two years and not enough time to call over 40 witnesses to the stand and accommodate any matters that might arise,” Khamisi stated.
However, the defence team, led by Gibson Kimani, vehemently opposed the new application by the DPP, saying it is an afterthought. Kimani wondered why the DPP is seeking to have the hearing dates reviewed yet the State has not supplied all the evidence documents they intend to use in the matter during trial.
“The first accused does not know why he is in court as he has not been supplied with all the witnesses statements and evidence material. As stated by the prosecution, the investigating officer has not even recorded his statement in this matter.
This clearly shows they are not ready to even prosecute this case but seeking early hearing dates,” Kimani stated. Other matters Defence urged the court to dismiss the application, as the cluster of dates fixed in the Months of September, October and November were agreed upon by all parties including the DPP on December 7, 2021.
“We have other matters in others courts and we can supply the State with the many cases we have as our diaries are already full. I urge this court to retain the dates we took and order the prosecution to supply us with all evidence documents in this matter,” Kimani stated.
Defence argued that the DPP application is vigorous and prejudicial to the accused, as the State has since yet not complied with pretrial orders issued last month. “The elephant in the room is that one of the accused persons is a politician and the DPP wants the matter to kick off for trial before the August polls,” Kimani stated.
MP complained to the court that since June, 2021 after he was charged, the DPP is yet to supply him with all witness statements and exhibits intended to be produced in the trial to enable him prepare his defence.
Last month, the defence had urged the court to list the case for hearing in September because they are appearing in other long trials including the National Youth Service graft cases, which have been listed