Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji (pictured) has appealed a decision to deny him the opportunity to introduce new evidence and present more witnesses in the Sh10 billion Anglo-Leasing scandal.
Through his deputy Nicholas Mutuku, the DPP argued that the decision by Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku would have adverse and far-reaching effects on criminal cases his office is prosecuting.
Haji is seeking suspension of the trial of businessman Deepak Kamani, his brother Rashmi Kamani, former permanent secretaries Dave Mwangi and Joseph Magari, and former senior treasury employee David Onyonka until he is allowed to call more witnesses.
“The magistrate’s ruling has the effect of unlawfully blocking crucial evidence being tendered by the prosecution through the intended witnesses. This will have grave ramifications not only in this case but other criminal prosecutions we are undertaking,” said Mr Mutuku.
The prosecution had told the magistrate’s court they want to introduce four fresh witnesses before resting their case but lawyers for the accused persons objected on grounds the move would delay the case that has dragged on for five years.
The magistrate, in her ruling, agreed with the defence, stating that the intention to call new witnesses was an afterthought, and that it went against the accused persons right to a fair trial.
The magistrate said the prosecution did not present a convincing explanation why they waited until the tail-end of the case to produce new evidence.
She directed that only the investigating officer be allowed to testify.
But the DPP argued that they wanted to protect public funds by proving their case beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is unfair because if the investigating officer testifies and the prosecution closes its case, the intended crucial evidence would be locked out thereby resulting to a miscarriage of justice,” said Mutuku.
He stated that the magistrate made an error in ruling that the accused persons will be prejudiced through introduction of new evidence when their lawyers will have a chance to cross-examine the witnesses on anything they produce in court.
The prosecutor said the defence lawyers should have asked for more time to go through the new evidence.
The Kamani brothers, Mwangi, Magari and Onyonka were charged in 2015 with conspiracy to defraud the Government of billions of shillings.
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