Prosecutor fails to interrogate five witnesses in Sh63bn Arror dam case

Prosecuting counsel told court he had no questions for the 5 witnesses presented

In Summary
  • Consequently, all five witnesses were stood down and discharged by the court. 
  • The court adjourned the matter until Wednesday when the prosecution is expected to call two more witnesses. 
Court gavel
Court gavel
Image: FILE

The Prosecution on Tuesday failed to interrogate five witnesses to give evidence in Sh63 billion graft case facing former Treasury CS Henry Rotich and eight others.

The witnesses appeared before trial magistrate Eunice Nyutu, took oath and were ready to give their evidence, however, the prosecuting counsel Geoffrey Obiri told the court that the prosecution had no questions for their witnesses. 

The witnesses are Boniface Mamboleo, Festus Kivisu, Maina Kiondo, Benedict Omondi and Kimani Kiiru.

Consequently, all five witnesses were stood down and discharged by the court. 

Magistrate Nyutu discharged the witnesses saying "The court notes the prosecution has no questions for the witnesses, they are hereby discharged. "

That was the trend for each of the five witnesses who had been brought to court under warrants of arrest.

Obiri informed the court that he would line up two other witnesses from the Controller of Budgets on Wednesday, September 13.

The court adjourned the matter until Wednesday when the prosecution is expected to call two more witnesses. 

All the five witnesses who appeared in court were public servants drawn from different ministries.

Obiri further presented a letter from the office of the Auditor General where by the office expressed concern and shock over the warrants of arrest issued against the intended witnesses from the office. 

"We express concern that warrants were issued against officers from this office who had not been served with any court summons requiring them to attend court to testify in the four-year-old case, " the letter reads in part.

The office informed the court that one of the witnesses Cecilia Karuka will not be in a position to attend court since she is auditing counties.

The magistrate read the letter loudly noting that the investigating officer had informed the court that he had served witnesses summons contrary to contention by the Auditor General's office.

Obiri told the court that the new DPP would review the charges against Rotich.

So far the prosecution has called 14 witnesses including the former Agriculture CS Peter Munya who also did not give evidence when he appeared in court.

He subsequently was stood down and discharged. 

Rotich and his co-accused are charged over Sh63 billion money meant for the Kimwarer and Arror dams.

So far the six witnesses who have appeared before court have not tendered their evidence. 

Meanwhile, the prosecution has formally filed an application seeking the magistrate to disqualify herself from hearing the case.

The DPP has said the court has exhibited bias and hostility towards the prosecution.

The DPP accuses the magistrate of openly pronouncing herself that she feels that the prosecution and investigators are inclined to negatively interfere with the prosecution of the matter.

Further, the DPP contends that the court perceives that the plea to adjourn the case to await the decision of the new DPP Renson Ingonga amounts to an interference with the prosecution of the matter. 

"As a consequence, the court has repeatedly refused to grant the prosecutions merited adjournments," the DPP states in court documents.  

"The court has often times granted the prosecution unreasonable short timelines to procure the attendance of witnesses often at times within an hour."

The application has been served upon all defence counsels and the court has directed the lawyers representing the accused persons to respond.

The matter will be mentioned on September 26, when the court will give directions on when the said application will be heard.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star