Italian firm operated under three different names: CMC Di Ravenna Italy, CMC Di Ravenna Itinera, and CMC Di Ravenna Kenya
An Italian company at the centre of the Sh63 billion dams scandal registered a number of briefcase branches suspected to have been used to siphon public funds, the court heard yesterday.
The revelation came as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji pleaded with the court to lift an order that stopped the trial of lawyer Richard Malebe, who is one of the suspects in the multi-billion shillings scandal.
The DPP, through special prosecutor Taib Ali Taib, argued that Malebe cannot claim he was not a director in one of the CMC Di Ravenna sister companies while records show he signed documents leading to deposits of huge amounts of money into the company’s accounts.
“The company was being clever by hatching a scheme to register several firms to execute the conspiracy to defraud public funds,” said Taib.
Taib told Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi that allowing the case by Malebe to bar his prosecution would affect the trial of several other anti-corruption cases.
Malebe is challenging his prosecution claiming the DPP illegally dragged him into the case when he is not a director of CMC Di Ravenna Kenya.
He is charged alongside former Treasury CS Henry Rotich, former Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, former East Africa Community PS Susan Koech and Treasury Chief Economist Kennedy Nyakundi with conspiracy to defraud Sh63 billion in the construction of the Arror and Kimwarer dams.
His lawyer, Elisha Ongoya, argued that Malebe should not be punished for his role in registering the Italian company in Kenya, as he was only doing his duties as a professional advocate.
“He never participated in incorporating the companies and is not a director to warrant the charges,” said Ongoya. According to the lawyer, Malebe only received a request from KPMG to help register a local branch of CMC Di Ravenna South Africa, and never held any position as director or shareholder.
But Mr Taib told the judge that Malebe was part of the conspiracy and lied to court when he obtained the orders stopping his prosecution.
Justice Ngugi extended orders which stopped Malebe’s prosecution until April 29 when she will deliver a ruling.