CONFLICT OF INTEREST

DPP wants Orengo out of Kidero graft case

Cites a High Court order by Justice Eric Ogollo that barred state officers from legally representing economic crime suspects.

In Summary

• Special prosecutor James Kihara says Orengo, being an elected senator and the Minority leader of the Senate, is a full-time state officer who is required by law not to engage in any other gainful employment. 

• But Kidero, through lawyer Julie Soweto, took issue with the application made by Kihara, saying he misapprehended the ruling.

DPP Noordin Haji.
DPP Noordin Haji.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The Director of Public Prosecutions has objected to Senator James Orengo’s legal representation of former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero in a Sh58 million graft case. 

Special prosecutor James Kihara told chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti that Orengo should be expunged from the criminal proceedings in light of a High Court order by Justice Eric Ogollo that barred state officers from appearing for suspects facing economic crimes. 

Kihara said Orengo, being an elected senator and a Minority leader of the Senate, is a full time state officer who is required by law not to engage in any other gainful employment. He said this raises issues of conflict of interest. 

Kihara made reference to Judge Ogollo's ruling that elected leaders or state officers cannot represent or appear for public officers accused of corruption. 

Ogola, sitting in Mombasa, cited a conflict of interest in the oversight role as the reason for barring persons holding elective positions from legally representing civil servant graft suspects.

“Such participation by state officers as counsels for accused persons in such proceedings would be in conflict with their statutory and constitutional duty,” Ogola said.

He made the ruling following an application by state counsel Alexander Muteti seeking to bar Orengo from representing Daniel Manduku, the former Kenya Ports Authority managing director.

But Kidero, through lawyer Julie Soweto, took issue with the application made by Kihara, saying he misapprehended the ruling. Soweto opposed Orengo's removal from the defence team.

But Ogoti, in a brief rejoinder, said he had personally not read the High Court order. He directed Kihara to serve it to the court. The application will be heard on June 3.