INTERPRETATION

Governor Njuki's Sh34m graft case referred to High Court

Court rejects bid by defence lawyers to refer the case to Tharaka Nithi.

In Summary

• Magistrate Ogoti made the decision after defence lawyers sought clarity on which Act their clients were charged under.

• The charge sheet says they will be tried under the Penal Code and the Anti-corruption Act.

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki at the Milimani anti-corruption Court on September 8, 2020.
Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki at the Milimani anti-corruption Court on September 8, 2020.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The High Court will now determine whether Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki and 20 others can be charged under the Anti-corruption Act in a Sh34 million graft case.

Trial magistrate Douglas Ogoti said in a ruling that the superior court will give direction on the matter.

Ogoti made the decision after defence lawyers sought clarity on which Act their clients were charged under. The charge sheet says they will be tried under the Penal Code and the Anti-corruption Act.

The magistrate said that the court has no jurisdiction to make the decision as argued by the defence counsels.

The court also disallowed an application by the defence lawyers seeking to refer the case to Tharaka Nithi. 

Ogoti said that he has no power to refer the matter to the scene where the offence occurred.

The lawyers said the Director of Public Prosecution should have charged the suspects in Embu, Meru or Tharaka Nithi to cut down their expenses.

They argued that the magistrate should not have allowed the suspects to plead to charges or even impose bail terms including barring the governor from his office.

The decision of the court means the trial of the governor and his co-accused will have to wait until the High Court makes a determination on issues raised. 

Njuku and 20 others were charged with conspiracy to defraud the county government of Sh34 million through an unprocedural tendering process.

The governor was also charged with another count of conflict of interest in a tender worth Sh34 million.

The tender was for the supply, installation and commissioning of a solid waste incinerator.