Former Local Government PS Sammy Kirui and ex-Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo (pictured)on Friday put up spirited defences in the abuse of office charges against them.
The two are jointly charged alongside former Nairobi City Council director of legal affairs Mary Ng’ethe and former council official Alexander Musee with irregularly authorising an alleged payment of Sh259 million for cemetery land.
Musee chaired the tender committee that approved the payment to Naen Rech Ltd for the land in Mavoko. Ng’ethe was the committee’s secretary.
The accused persons committed the offence on December 18, 2008 at Jogoo House in Nairobi.
Milimani senior principal magistrate Lawrence Mugambi said the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the four suspects. The ruling was written by trial magistrate Dorothy Mulekyo. Mugambi directed that the case be mentioned before the Anti-Corruption Court on January 30, for further directions.
Kirui is accused of willfully neglecting to perform his official duties in relation to public funds entrusted to him on account of the City Council of Nairobi.
Ng’ethe and Musee face accusations of giving a misleading report, purporting that the committee had agreed to buy the controversial 120-acre plot in Mavoko town. The land, the prosecution said, was worth Sh24 million.
The suspects are alleged to have received substantial financial benefits towards the procurement of the land. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission said the price paid was far above the prevailing market rates at the time. Gakuo is accused of neglecting to performer his duties as Town Clerk.
Then President Mwai Kibaki suspended 13 top officials in the ministries of Local Government and Finance in the wake of the cemetery land scandal in 2008. The Attorney General gave the EACC (then the KACC) the go-ahead to charge the suspects.
The KACC had recommended the suspects be charged in court in relation to the scandal. The land, intended to replace the already full Lang’ata cemetery, was found unsuitable for use as a burial site.