Reprieve for Ojienda as court halts his prosecution

James Orengo (R) and Prof Ojienda at a Milimani Courts. [File, Standard]

It is a reprieve for lawyer Tom Ojienda after the High Court issued orders to temporarily stop his prosecution in the Mumias Sugar Company Case.

Prof Ojienda, through a battery of 30 lawyers, had filed an appeal challenging the legality of his prosecution.

 Led by James Orengo, the defence argued that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations had overstepped its mandate hence cannot prefer charges against him.

Justice Chacha Mwita temporarily stopped prosecution pending processing of orders to be presented before court for further directions. 

The court will determine whether Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji acted legally in the prosecution of Ojienda.

In his submission, lawyer Otiende Amollo who is also Rarieda MP described Haji’s move on Ojienda’s case as a rogue one.

“This court (High Court) is uniquely placed to prevent what I can only call a DPP’s office that has become constitutionally rogue,” Amollo said.

Mr Ojienda, who is also a member of the Judicial Service Commission, appeared before Magistrate Martha Mutuku on Monday morning to answer multiple charges of fraud.

He, however, failed to take a plea after his defence team opposed the move.

On Monday morning, DPP Haji released a statement revealing that Court of Appeal Judge James Otieno Odek was not under investigation in the case.

Instead, he added, Odek will be a prosecution witness against Ojienda. Odek has recorded a statement of his own volition on the matter.

Ojienda spent the weekend in police custody and was freed on Sunday evening. He was then arraigned in court on Monday morning.

The DPP wants him charged with fraud over alleged Sh89m he received as legal fees from Mumias Sugar Company.

“This inquiry file relates to allegations of use of fake court proceedings, number and parties spread across the country in different courts that were used by several legal service providers to obtain monies, like legal fees, from Mumias Sugar Company,” the DPP said.

The petition will be heard on February 18.