Magistrate cites frustration in Kimwarer case
A magistrate has taken issue with the manner in which the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is conducting the Sh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams case against former Finance CS Henry Rotich and eight others saying “faceless officers” in the country’s prosecution office have left the case in a quagmire.
While declining to adjourn the case yesterday, Anti- Corruption Chief Magistrate Eunice Nyutu put the office of the DPP on the spot with the instructions being given to two State prosecutors Geoffrey Obiri and Oliver Mureithi over the case.
Nyutu said senior officers seated in the ODPP have been asking the two prosecutors to take out the hearing of the case pending the swearing-in of the new chief prosecutor Renson Ingonga.
The magistrate wondered why the senior officers giving those instructions do not want to commit themselves in writing a formal letter to the court.
“It is now three weeks and these faceless officers have been given you (Obiri and Mureithi) oral instructions to secure an adjournment of this matter awaiting the assumption to the office of Ingonga,” Nyutu noted.
To present witnesses
She proceeded to direct Obiri to present witnesses lined up to testify in the case since she feels frustrated and not working leading to the waste of precious Judicial time.
Following the directive, Obiri presented four witnesses: Cecilia Ngariuka from the office of the Auditor-General and three others from Kerio Valley Development Authority Johnathan Ruto, David Juma Onyango and Moses Kipsang Kipchumba.
Upon Obiri being compelled to proceed with the hearing, he said that he had no questions to put the four witnesses who had been brought to court on the strength of a warrant of arrest.
Obiri sought an adjournment saying Ingonga’s appointment was gazetted last week but President William Ruto has been away,so the DPP’s swearing in could not take place.
He asked the court put off the case for two weeks to indulge the DPP to peruse the file and give instructions on the way forward.
The magistrate declined the request and ordered the case to proceed Tomorrow( Tuesday) for further hearing
In the past three weeks over 10 witnesses including former Agriculture CS Peter Munya have been discharged without testifying in the case with the prosecutors urging the court to wait for the new DPP to take office and give fresh directors in the trial of Rotich and his co-accused person.
In the case former CS finance Rotich is charged alongside and his co- accused persons namely Kennedy Nyakundi Nyachiro,Jackson Njau Kinyanjui, David Kipchumba Kimosop,William KiPkemboi Maina, Paul Kipkoech Serem, Francis Chepkonga Kipkech, Titus Muriithi and Geoffrey Mwangi Wahungu are charged with abuse of office over the construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams.
The nine are accused of conspiracy to defraud the government of Kenya USD 501,829,769 by unlawfully initiating an entering into contraction, financing and insurance agreement for the development of Arror and Kimwarer Multi-purpose dams.
They face 29 charges of engaging in a project without prior planning, willful failure to comply with procurement laws, Abuse of office and committing an offence of financial misconduct.A Nairobi court has issued warrants of arrest against four witnesses who were to testify in the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal.
The witnesses were to testify on Monday morning but failed to appear in court.
Magistrate Eunice Nyutu noted that the four witnesses are public servants and ordered that they be arrested and produced in court.
A request to adjourn the matter was declined by the court, instead, the state was given 30 minutes to avail the witnesses. Two weeks ago former CS Peter Munya failed to testify after the prosecution said that they had no questions to ask, thereby dropping him as a witness.