Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Kenya: Former Nairobi Governor’s Bid to Halt Sh213 Million Corruption Case Flops

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The Sh213 million corruption case against former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero will proceed as scheduled after the High Court rejected his bid to have it halted.

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice John Onyiego directed Kidero to appear before the anti-corruption court for trial.

The court dismissed Dr Kidero’s application to delay the case pending determination of his petition challenging the charges as framed.

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Justice Onyieogo ruled that Dr Kidero will not suffer prejudice if the case proceeds before his application is heard.

Through lawyer James Orengo, the former governor had asked the court to stop the graft case until his petition is determined.

‘NO SUFFICIENT GROUNDS’

“I find no sufficient grounds to stay the proceeding before a lower court. The application is dismissed. The parties are to appear before the trial court as scheduled for the hearing,” the judge ruled.

He offered to fast track the appeal.

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Kidero had cited a crowded charge sheet as one of the grounds in his petition but the judge said it is not a ground to halt the case.

The judge said Kidero was not a victim of tax issues he had raised in the petition.

He said the issues raised can be canvassed during the trial pending before anti-corruption court chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti.

Dr Kidero and eight others are accused of conspiring to commit fraud which led to the loss of Sh213,327,300 at the county government between January 16, 2014 and January 25, 2016.

Through lawyer James Orengo, the former governor had argued that the charges were not specific and that they were meant to embarrass him.

NO NEED OF APPEAL

The judge dismissed the claims stating the Kidero had not yet been convicted of the offence hence there was no need of appealing at the High Court.

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The former governor moved to the High Court after Mr Ogoti rejected his bid to be tried separately.

He also said the prosecution did not indicate how they conspired, acted corruptly or fraudulently and occasioned the loss of that amount of public funds.

Justice Onyiego noted that the issues of the charge sheet could be addressed during the trial or during an appeal after conviction.

On Monday, a magistrate temporarily put off the trial pending the outcome of the appeal at the High Court.

Dr Kidero is charged alongside former county employees Lilian Ndegwa (County secretary), Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba (Chief Finance Officer), Gregory Mwakanongo (Finance and Planning minister), Stephen Ogago Osiro (head of accounting), Luke Mugo (acting CFO) and Maurice Ochieng Okere (acting head of Treasury).

John Githua and Grace Njeri of Lodwar Wholesalers and Ngurumani Traders Limited are accused of fraudulently receiving payments from the county.

The petition will be heard on May 20.

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