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November 20, 2018

Accused should not fund their own trial, pay for evidence — court

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya (right) together with Cleophas Oyaro at anticorruption court at Milimani on Tuesday,August 28 where together with other people who were charged with them for  economic crimes in the constituency appeared for the mention of their case.
 PHOTO/COLLINS KWEYU
Embakasi North MP James Gakuya (right) together with Cleophas Oyaro at anticorruption court at Milimani on Tuesday,August 28 where together with other people who were charged with them for economic crimes in the constituency appeared for the mention of their case. PHOTO/COLLINS KWEYU

Lawyers representing Embakasi North MP James Gakuya and 12 others rejected the proposal that the accused pay for documentary evidence to be used in their prosecution.

 

Gakuya and his brother Patrick Waruinge are charged alongside others with fraudulently acquiring Sh40 million from the CDF account. Prosecutor Omollo Hamisi on Tuesday requested to have them pay for access to the evidence gathered by EACC detective Wako Jattani.

 

Hamisi said Jattani had assembled evidence in two voluminous files and the accused should meet the cost of photocopying. She said the cost was high and because of financial constraints there was need for cost-sharing.

 

But lawyers Danston Omari and Kibira Njenga said the state couldn’t seek assistance of their clients. Omari said asking the accused to aid their prosecution could amount to inducement.

 

“If the state is ready to prosecute, then it must be ready to facilitate the same. The investigating officer should have adequate resources to produce the required materials,” he said. “The EACC is an epitome of integrity and can’t receive support from the accused.”

 

Chief magistrate Felix Kombo ruled in favour of the lawyers, rejecting Hamisi’s request. He directed the state to supply the materials. “I can’t order the accused persons to fund their own trial. The state is resourced to carry out prosecution and if cost sharing has to happen, it should be made based on the law,” Kombo said.

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