DPP storms out of court during hearing of Ksh357M graft case against Sonko

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023 19:57 | By
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO/Instagram (@mike.sonko)

There was drama at the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) officer stormed out of the courtroom during the hearing of the Ksh357 million City Hall scandal case against former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.

State prosecutor Alex Akura walked out of the courtroom abandoning the case, a minute after trial magistrate Eunice Nyutu declined his plea to have the case adjourned.

The move to abandon the case by the state prosecutor forced one of Sonko's accused persons namely Samuel Mwangi Ndung’u, a suspended employee of the Nairobi City County, to break down in tears urging the court to terminate the case as he recounted how her mother succumbed to an illness while he watched helpless because he could not support her financially.

“As I stand before you I am innocent so are my co-accused although we have been accused of pocketing Ksh357 million which we didn’t,” Ndung’u told the court.

He insisted that he had no role in the alleged fraud.

“It’s four years and the prosecutors have hard-rock hearts, they care less whether we get justice or not. They do not even attend court,” Ndung’u stated

"I wish I had a share of the Ksh357 million we are accused of defrauding the public. I would have assisted my late mother and supported my family which is wallowing in poverty,” he lamented.

On his side, Sonko through his lawyer Assa Nyakundi pressed for the case against him to be terminated for want of prosecution.

“At this pace, this case will last in court for over 10 years before it is concluded,” Nyakundi observed noting that the prosecution was yet to produce another 37 witnesses.

As a consequence of the prosecution's actions to storm out of the courtroom and leaving no counsel to handle the case, the magistrate was forced to close the prosecution case against Sonko and his co-accused persons before all the line-up state witnesses had testified.

The magistrate went ahead and fixed a ruling date on a case to answer on December 7, 2023.

The new turn of events in the case came a day after the magistrate on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, also rejected the DPP's application to drop charges against the KRA board chair Antony Mwaura and his wife Rose Njeri who are charged alongside Sonko over embezzlement of Ksh357 million City Hall four years ago.

Nyutu declined an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Ingonga to have the multi-billion corruption case against Mwaura, his wife and their two companies Hardy Enterprises Limited and Toddy Civil Engineering Limited terminated.

While declining the DPP request, the magistrate wondered why the case against the four was being withdrawn at its tail end when most witnesses had given evidence.

She dismissed the DPP's application for lack of merit and ordered the case against Mwaura, his wife and companies to proceed for a full trial.

The DPP had last month filed an application seeking to have the charges against Mwaura, his wife and the two firms dropped under section 87(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) following a fresh review of the charges against them.

The KRA boss shot to infamy when his companies, Hardi Enterprises and Toddy Civil Engineering Company, were implicated in a City Hall scandal for allegedly receiving irregular payments amounting to Ksh102 million.

The money was allegedly wired to Hardi Enterprises, which distributed it to five of its Equity Bank accounts in various amounts.

Immediately after they received the money, the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA) sought to have these accounts frozen, together with nine high-end vehicles it argued had been bought using proceeds of corruption.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi granted ARA’s request, even as Mwaura argued that he was a genuine businessman. He said he had accumulated his wealth by carrying out 15 construction projects with the government.

In 2002, Mwaura established Toddy Civil Engineering Company in Karatina town.

At the time, the company had only two employees and specialised in civil engineering, construction, lease of machinery and supply of construction materials.

By 2006, Toddy was doing business with the government through State departments and agencies such as Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Tana Water Works Development Agency (TWWDA). It has also worked with the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) among other entities.

In the case, Sonko alongside 16 others among them private liability companies are accused of embezzing public funds to the tune of Ksh357 million from Nairobi County during his administration as the county governor.

It is alleged that Sonko on December 17, 2016, at Equity Bank Limited received Ksh3 million from Toddy Civil Engineering Limited, property belonging to Nairobi county government whilst knowing the property formed part of the proceeds of crime.

Others charged in the case are; Peter Mbugua Kariuki, Patrick Mwangangi, Ndaka, Andrew Nyasiego and Lawrence Mwangi Mukuru, businessman Antony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal, Arbab Auto Limited, ROG Security Ltd and High Energy Petroleum Ltd.

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