Mwendwa off the hook in Sh38m graft case as no witnesses show

Ex-FKF boss could still be re-arrested and charged if state gathers enough evidence and witnesses

In Summary

• The state sought numerous adjournments, citing lack of witnesses to testify against the former FKF boss. Trial never took off.

• Mwendwa was charged with conspiracy to defraud the federation of Sh38 million.

Former FKF president Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno
CASE DISMISSED: Former FKF president Nick Mwendwa and CEO Barry Otieno
Image: FILE

Former Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa can now breathe easy after a Nairobi court dismissed a corruption case against him.

Mwendwa was on trial on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the federation of Sh38 million.

His trial, however, failed to take off.

The prosecution on several occasions sought adjournment because witnesses were not ready to take to the stand.

After several adjournments since December last year, the matter was scheduled for hearing on Tuesday July 5.

It again failed to proceed after the state sought another adjournment, saying it had no witnesses.

The prosecution told Milimani Anti-Corruption Court magistrate Eunice Nyutu that it needed more time to review the evidence.

The magistrate declined the application and directed witnesses be produced to testify the next day, or the case would be withdrawn.

On Wednesday, the state renewed its application for adjournment saying it did not have witnesses. The magistrate declined the request for adjournment, forcing the prosecution to apply for the withdrawal of the case under Section 87A of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Following Wednesday's withdrawal of the case before Nyutu, the state can still re-arrest Mwendwa and charge him afresh if enough evidence is gathered and witnesses availed.

Mwendwa's defence team led by senior counsel and former Law Society of Kenya president Eric Mutua had opposed the application for adjournment.

They said the state was deliberately delaying the hearing of the matter that was instituted in November last year.

Mwendwa was first arrested on November 12, 2021, and taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi for grilling by detectives amid a then deepening crisis at the FKF.

He was accused of embezzlement of funds wired to the federation by the state.

Three days later, he was arraigned before Milimani senior principal magistrate Wandia Nyamu. The State asked to detain him for 21 days, pending investigations.

The magistrate deferred her ruling on bond application for a day before releasing Mwendwa on Sh4 million bail.

She directed the prosecution to prefer charges against Mwendwa in 10 days, failing which the file would be closed.

After 10 days, Mwendwa earned temporary freedom after Nyamu directed the DCI to close the file against him. The directive followed a failure by detectives to present charges against Mwendwa.

The following day, Mwendwa was re-arrested, spending the weekend in custody before the charge of conspiracy to defraud FKF of Sh38 million was preferred against him.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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