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Suspects in Sh8 billion Karen land could be freed over Court of Appeal typing error

By Paul O Ogemba | Published Wed, March 29th 2017 at 08:05, Updated March 29th 2017 at 08:14 GMT +3
Former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo. [Photo: File, Standard]

A typing error could see six suspects in the controversial Karen land-grabbing case freed.

Former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo, Sara Mwenda, Pauline Gatimu, Mark Muigai, Macmilan Mutiso and James Mbaluka argued the Court of Appeal order that set free former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu applied to all of them and that they should also be acquitted.

"As it stands, there is no case against the accused persons. It is therefore not right for the Director of Public Prosecutions to say they have no grace to partake the benefit of the Court of Appeal order granted to Charity Ngilu," said their lawyer Hiram Kago.

According to the lawyer, the Court of Appeal order was specific that the criminal trial relating to the 134-acre land valued at Sh8 billion had been terminated and wondered why only Ngilu was acquitted.

But deputy DPP Fredrick Ashimosi argued there was a typing error in the consent order, and that they needed to rectify to prove that only Ngilu was acquitted.

"We admit the order is not in tandem with the consent we entered to terminate the case against Ngilu. It might have been a typing error by the Court of Appeal but that does not mean the accused should be acquitted since we have not agreed to terminate their case," said Ashimosi.

Mr Kago however insisted there was no typing error and that the accused should not suffer selective justice.

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According to the lawyer, they were never invited to negotiations between Ngilu and the DPP, leading to her acquittal.

"They should have notified us that the consent order would be selective and would apply only to Ngilu. We wonder why they had to wait until we make an application for our clients to be set free to bring up the issue of typing errors," Kago said yesterday.

Principal magistrate Lawrence Mogambi ordered the DPP to seek clarification within two weeks, failure to which he will acquit the suspects.

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