State blames ex-minister’s team in Sh63b dam case row
Drama, twists and turns were witnessed yesterday at the hearing of the Sh63 billion Kimwarer and Arror dam’s case with the prosecution claiming that there was massive interference of witnesses in the matter.
The prosecution revealed the information after the defense objected to the new witness, George Rotich, testifying in the matter claiming he was not the second one in the list.
Former Treasury CS Henry Rotich, Kerio Valley Development Authority boss David Kimosop and seven others are charged with sh 63 billion dam scandal.
Senior Counsel Kioko Kilukumi who represents Rotich claimed that the court had issued pretrial guidelines on the sequence of when each witness will be called and the documents to be relied on and that the new witness was witness number 25.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti and special prosecutor Taib Ali Taib however opposed the adjournment claiming that the one listed as the second witness is deceased and on Wednesday they sought for substitution in the presence of the defense counsels.
Muteti alleged that there was interference of witnesses in a case and they were facing a difficult process in prosecuting the matter.
“We have reliably learnt of an effort to interfere with witnesses or to dissuade them not to appear in this matter…I have confirmed from the DCI that it is an active matter which is under investigations,” said Muteti.
The prosecution claimed that they were considering filing an application in regards to the witnesses’ interference since it was extensive. The court further heard that they would later present a dossier which will preempt their way of calling witnesses.
The defense counsel opposed the said sentiments with senior counsel Kioko Kilukumi accusing Muteti of making a statement with political undertones.
“The prosecution should table evidence to show interference of witnesses and not just make statements with political undertones,” said Kilukumi.
Lawyer Katwa Kigen on his part accused Muteti of making a statement for the media gallery and to capture news headlines.
“We take offense to the insinuation made to dissuade witnesses. We are afraid the statement was made for the media gallery. If it was genuine it should be in an application. They have been made to put the defense in a bad light. We maintain that this case was motivated by political experiences,” said Katwa.
Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi in his ruling dismissed the defense application for adjournment and directed the matter to proceed. The magistrate noted that the application for summons of the said witness were made on Wednesday before the defense counsels and they did not object then. “I do not find it proper that when the witness has already been summoned and is before the court, the defense says it is all but an ambush, I do not find it convincing that the court should be made to summon a witness who is released without being heard,” he said
On the issue of interference of witnesses, the magistrate noted it was a matter of facts and the prosecution should therefore file an application before the court instead of making ‘sensationalized’ remarks.
The case will now be heard on November 18.