22 State officials face charges as probe into Sh21b dams scam closes

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. (File, Standard)
Investigations into the Sh21 billion Arror and Kimwarer dam scandals are now complete and the file received by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Haji yesterday told the Sunday Standard that he had received the investigations file but sent it back to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for further recording of statements.

“We want to do a thorough job and hence the need to tie all loose ends,” Haji said.

He, however, declined to discuss when the investigators are expected to complete recording the statements, or their recommendations.

SEE ALSO :Why dams probe may take long

But sources said investigators had recommended the prosecution of 22 individuals, including two Cabinet Secretaries, a Principal Secretary and a parastatal chief.

Same day

The investigations file left the DCI headquarters on May 23 and was received at the ODPP the same day. This, so far, is the clearest signal of the possible start of high-level arrests in the scandal.

Doubts have been cast on the possibility of arrests, with claims that the probe had been frozen for political reasons, including the possibility that the arrests and prosecution of the CSs could split President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.

The file had been under scrutiny by the rank and file in the investigations bureau who agreed on the recommendations to prosecute the top officials.

SEE ALSO :Stop lecturing us on graft, Ruto tells his rivals

Senior Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti led the team of legal minds that was tasked to review the file before it left the DCI headquarters.

“He (Muteti) was here (at DCI headquarters) for not less than two weeks since May, looking into the file,” said a DCI investigator yesterday.

Officers from DCI’s Serious Crimes Unit, who were working with officials from the ODPP, had agreed on the names of suspects to be charged as well as lists of witnesses.

“The investigators and five State counsel attached to the case had agreed on all issues and declared that the investigations were complete,” a senior officer said.

Multiple interviews by the Sunday Standard revealed that the probe had slowed down after a State House official asked the DCI to freeze the arrests.

SEE ALSO :Three CSs to face trial over Sh65b dams scam

Initially, DCI George Kinoti is reported to have been planning to round up the suspects as early as Easter holidays.  Both Kinoti and Haji, who at the time frequently updated the media on the progress of the investigations, have since gone mute.

The dams probe split Jubilee Party right in the middle, with Deputy President William Ruto and his allies accusing Kinoti of being used to wage a political war.

Vigilante justice

“Selective prosecution targeting predetermined individuals and projects, and steamrolled by a narrative of convenient lies and falsehood and propaganda, is not a fight against corruption. It’s impunity, it’s politics, and it’s headed in the wrong direction,” Ruto said on March 9.

When President Kenyatta delivered the State of the Nation address, he warned against what he termed as vigilante justice.

SEE ALSO :Corruption biggest threat to Kenya's food security dream

The Sunday Standard has learnt that by the time the ‘orders from above’ stopped the arrests, the complex investigations that involved other countries, especially Italy and the UK, were complete.

DCI insiders say the investigations had lost momentum after some politicians from Rift valley and Central regions scuttled the arrest of suspects.

These politicians are reportedly using an investigation pending in Parliament in which some senior government official are said to be involved.

Some of the information that the MPs are said to have been using to blackmail the State House official is their plan to investigate an alleged police insurance scandal. That official and another top officer in the Office of the President are said to be involved in the scandal.

It is not clear if other big names were implicated in the National Police Service insurance scandal.

“The investigations are complete and we have even tied up the loose ends by recording further statements from those we wanted to be charged. What was remaining was the aspect of MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance), which could not have stopped the prosecutions,” an officer familiar with the probe said.

Investigations into the two dams have dragged in powerful names, including an influential member of the Cabinet said to have exerted pressure on Trade CS Peter Munya to sign documents to release an additional Sh4 billion.

A Principal Secretary is also reported to have tried to pressure Munya into signing the documents but the CS refused.

Munya declined to sign the documents as he was new in the ministry and had observed there was a lot of pressure from “people” he thought had vested interests in the dams, investigators have said.

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Kimwarer damDCINoordin HajiArror DamDams Scandal