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Charity Ngilu cleared of Sh8b Karen land fraud charges

By Paul Ogemba | Published Tue, March 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 13th 2017 at 22:59 GMT +3
Former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu in a Nairobi court yesterday. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/STANDARD]

The anti-corruption court has formally terminated charges against former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu over the controversial Karen land saga.

Senior Principal Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi withdrew the case following a consent order by the Court of Appeal that the criminal trial against Ms Ngilu should be stopped.

"Having gone through the Court of Appeal order and heard the application by her lawyers and the confirmation by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the charges against Charity Ngilu are hereby marked as terminated," ruled Mr Mugambi.

He ordered the Sh1 million cash bail Ngilu had deposited to secure her freedom refunded to her.

Representing the former CS, senior counsel Paul Muite clarified that the termination was only in respect to Ngilu and did not affect her co-accused, who will still face prosecution for the irregular transfer of the 134-acre land valued at Sh8 billion.

The magistrate directed DPP Keriako Tobiko to amend the charge sheet and remove Ngilu's name from the list of accused persons.

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The consent was entered at the Court of Appeal last week and signed by Ngilu's lawyers, the DPP and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). It was endorsed by Appellate judges Alnasir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Jamila Mohamed as a final court order.

Under the consent, the DPP agreed not to pursue further charges while Ngilu agreed not to pursue any claim against the office of the Attorney General, the DPP or EACC for malicious prosecution.

The former CS was charged with obstructing anti-corruption officials from investigating the Karen land scandal in June 2015, leading to her suspension from the Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It was alleged that she prevented EACC officials from collecting evidence relating to acquisition of the land by instructing officials at the Lands ministry not to release documents or record statements.

But Ngilu had maintained her innocence, insisting she was the one who invited EACC to the Lands office to investigate the case.