Court allows suspect to travel to US for 7-day church meeting

Nyeri County Service Board members; (left-righ) Shellomith Wanjiku Nderitu, Geoffrey Wachira Mahinda, Beatrice Wanjiru Gikaru, Anthony Ndonga Muriu, and Alice Waruguru Muita. [File, Standard]
A county official charged with abuse of office and corruption is free to attend a church conference in the US.

Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to release Beatrice Wanjiru's (in red coat) travel documents to allow her to fly to Florida on November 6 for a religious event that ends on November 17.

Ms Wanjiru is among five members of the County Public Service Board facing charges of corruption.

They were charged alongside county government administrators Johnson Njogu and Jackson Thagana.

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They denied the charges and are out on bond of Sh500,000 each.

Wanjiru had requested to have her passport released by the court, which had ordered it deposited as a condition for her release on bond.

She was directed to deposit the travel document with the court when she returned from the US.

The court also allowed the board to meet and discharge its duties of hiring and managing the county government’s human resources.

Police officer

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However, the meetings will be supervised by an officer from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) or a police officer.

The lawyer for the accused also applied to have a requirement that said his clients must be escorted to their offices relaxed.

In the first count, the board members were accused of using their offices to confer a benefit to George Muriithi for appointment as a sub-county administrator.

The offence was said to have been committed between August 2, 2013 and February 22, 2014.

They also faced a second count of conspiring to commit corruption by procuring the appointment of George Muriithi as a sub-county administrator.

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The charge sheet further read that on the same dates, the five improperly conferred a benefit to Phares Njogu as a ward administrator.

The fourth count stated that between August 2013 and February 25, 2014, they conspired to procure the appointment of Phares Njogu.

Mr Njogu is also accused of making a false certificate, serial number 85517, purporting it to be issued by Vision College of Business and Accounting, with intent to deceive the board.

He faced an alternative charge of uttering the certificate.

Mr Thagana was also charged with making a false document - a diploma certificate serial number 1889 - on December 7, 2013, claiming it to have been issued by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.

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He faced an alternatives charge of uttering a false document.

The case will be heard in February next year.

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