By Isaiah Lucheli
Mwakwere failed to appear in court because he had not been served with summons.
Principal Magistrate Lucy Nyambura rejected bid by prosecution to have the court issue warrant of arrest against the minister for failing to appear in court noting that the Matuga MP had not been properly served with court documents.
State Counsel Lilian Obuo and National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) investigator Salome Wachira had a difficult time explaining whether the Environment minister had been personally served with the orders requiring him to appear in court.
The NCIC investigator conceded that the summons had not been personally served to the minister but they had communicated with him on telephone and he had confirmed he would appear in court.
The prosecution had argued that the minister was aware of the court summons as he had issued a press statement on the matter and had also communicated with NCIC investigators, but the magistrate declined to issue arrest warrant until due process is followed. Obuo told the court that the minister was elusive, to which the magistrate asked the prosecution to prepare a sworn affidavit, which would enable the court to take appropriate action.
“The argument that the minister is elusive and that he had addressed the media over the same matter cannot inform the court to issue arrest warrant. There is a due process to be followed and do not let the minister direct you on what to do. Do your job,” the magistrate told the investigating officer.
The minister had moved to High Court through certificate of urgency seeking to stop his arrest and prosecution but High Court Judge Florence Muchemi declined to give the orders. If charged as expected next week, Mwakwere’s ministerial position will be hanging in balance since he will be expected to step aside from his portfolio.
The Matuga MP in his petition had sought to have the magistrate court’s stopped from prosecuting him as he had filed a notice of appeal against a ruling by Justice David Majanja, which had thrown out his petition paving way for his arrest and prosecution. The magistrate directed that the minister be served with the summons and the case will be heard next Wednesday.