Court orders retrial of county government officials

Nyeri County Executives John Maina (Lands and Infrastructure) Martin Wamwea (Finance and Economic planning) and Simon Wachira (Chief of Staff) listen to the delivery of a judgement in a corruption and abuse of office charges before Chief Magistrate John Onyiego siting at the Nyeri courts. [Mose Sammy/Standard]
The High Court on Tuesday ordered the retrial of three former senior officials of the county government convicted of corruption.

Former executives John Maina (Lands) and Martin Wamwea (Finance), and Chief of Staff Simon Wachira had been found guilty of awarding a Sh3.5 million tender to Pleng International Ltd without following procurement procedures.

They were each handed a three-year jail term or find of Sh7.9 million on September 26, 2016. They appealed against the judgement.

Criminal proceedings

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In their appeal, they argued that by the time the criminal proceedings were instituted by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), three commissioners had resigned and therefore it was not properly constituted.

They cited former Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau’s case in which he obtained a reprieve after the Court of Appeal permanently quashed his prosecution at the Anti-Corruption Court.

Justice Teresiah Matheka yesterday said it would not be prejudicial to any party for the three to be re-tried.

The judge said it was not in dispute that an offence was committed “and there were certain things that were supposed to be done by certain authorities but were not done”.

She said the trial instituted by EACC was full of irregularities and could not stand on its own considering the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) failed to follow due process.

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Ms Matheka said she could not acquit the three based on a technicality, explaining that a trial could only be nullified where an offence was non-existent. The court said the prosecution failed to produce the investigations report and recommendation by the DPP.

But the evidence produced by EACC supported charges levelled against the three, she added.

Fines paid

An application to have the fines paid will be heard on July 9, said Matheka.

She also rejected their application to order for release of Sh7.9 million they paid as a fine in place of spending three years in jail.

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She directed the matter be mentioned before the court’s deputy registrar on July 9 for hearing of the application on release of the fines.

corruption chargesEthics and Anti-Corruption Commissionformer transport cs kamauJustice Teresiah Mathekagraft casesnyeri county executives