- The court in January last year placed witnesses in Sonko’s cases under protection
- The said orders in effect seek to protect the identities of witnesses through the use of redaction, pseudonyms
The Director of Public Prosecutions has asked a magistrate's court not to set aside orders that placed witnesses in former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s graft cases under protection.
The DPP in court documents says Sonko has not placed any information before court that would cause it to vary the orders.
The court in January last year placed witnesses in Sonko’s cases under protection. The identities of witnesses will be protected through the use of redaction, pseudonyms, a witness box and they will testify in closed court sessions.
Aggrieved with the orders of the court, Sonko filed an application claiming that the protection orders had denied him the right to a public trial, adequate time and facilities to prepare his defence as well as denied him the right to be informed in advance of the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on.
He has asked the court to either review or set aside those orders and for the court to also permanently suspend his graft proceedings.
But the DPP says the witness protection agency rule provides particular binding standards that would move the court to vary an order previously made.
“Sonko must demonstrate a significant change of circumstance of the witness. What must be demonstrated to the court is that the conditions that warranted grant of protective orders have significantly changed and that the witness is no longer in need of protection,” says DPP.
The DPP says there has been no such change of circumstance as Sonko has not placed any applicant information before the court that would cause the court to vary its initial orders. He has asked the court to dismiss the application.
DPP has also dismissed claims by Sonko that he was not accorded adequate time and facilities to prepare its defence.
“We disclosed the evidence we intended to rely on in February 2020. Trial in one of the cases commenced on September 14, 2020. The accused had seven months to prepare its defence,” the DPP said.
DPP says the application by Sonko is tailored to curtail and usurp their constitutional and statutory mandate in exercise of their lawful functions.
Sonko is facing economic crimes, and corruption charges involving a Sh14.1 million tender for heavy equipment.
Sonko, Fredrick Odhiambo trading as Yiro enterprises, ROG Security limited and its director Antony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal have denied charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, conflict of interest, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.
-Edited by Sarah Kanyara