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Okemo, Gichuru case to start afresh

BUSINESS
By | November 23rd 2011

By Evelyn Kwamboka

A case seeking the extradition of MP Chris Okemo and former Kenya Power chief Samuel Gichuru to the Island of Jersey will have to start all over again.

The case suffered a setback after the High Court yesterday barred Special Prosecutor Patrick Kiage from handling the matter and ordered all his submissions expunged.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko will now have to return to the drawing board and appoint another prosecutor or State counsel to lead the submissions on his behalf from November 28.

Okemo and Gichuru are seeking to have the extradition case dismissed.

The suspects had already argued the application through their lawyer Fred Ngatia but when Kiage rose to respond, they raised the issue of his suitability.

Nambale MP Chris Okemo (right) and former Kenya Power and Lighting Company MD Samuel Gichuru during the hearing of their case at the Nairobi Law Courts, on Tuesday. Photo: Ann Kamoni/Standard

Kiage had only made submissions for two hours in the application, a record that trial magistrate Grace Macharia expunged.

"Mr Kiage has no status to henceforth appear before court in these proceedings unless appointed as stipulated under Section 85 of the Criminal Procedure Code," she ruled.

She said the court could not turn a blind eye to the very tenets that would ensure a just disposal of the case was adhered to.

Macharia made the decision on grounds that Kiage was not properly appointed under the law to act as a special prosecutor in the case against the two suspects wanted in the Island of Jersey to face fraud charges.

They are accused of having received bribes worth Sh900 million from international companies between 1999 and 2002.

The court pointed out that Kiage failed to produce a copy of the gazette notice that renewed his appointment in February 2011.

Kiage was first appointed as a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions on January 31, 2007 on a one-year contract. This was later renewed on February 19, 2008 for another term.

The last renewal was done by Solicitor General Wanjuki Muchemi on behalf of the Public Service Commission, on February 23 this year for another two years.

Ngatia told the magistrate that Kiage had no right to appear in court, adding that High Court judge Nicholas Ombijah had stopped him from prosecuting Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey in another case.

He argued that the matter was yet to be decided by the High Court but until then, he should stop handling any cases.

Ramifications

"It is important for the DPP to reflect on the matter that has deep ramifications," he said.

But Kiage dismissed the claims, saying Justice Ombijah did not bar him from handling matters in courts as a prosecutor, adding that the suspects are not parties in the case filed by Kosgey at the High Court.

The court was told Kosgey did not seek a blanket injunction and the suspects failed to apply to the High Court to be enjoined in the matter as interested parties.

"It would be purely speculative for this court to either stop the proceedings or bar me from speaking on behalf of the DPP on the basis of the objectors’ found hope that Kosgey will succeed in a totally unrelated case," he added.

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