A lawyer has denied setting up a legal officer at the Kenya Medical Suppliers Authority (Kemsa) by secretly recording him while soliciting Sh1 million bribe.
Titus Barasa Makhanu instead accused the Kemsa official Evans Cheruiyot of being a captive of his own mistakes which led to the secret recording when he was demanding for a bribe to approve payments for legal services offered to the state agency.
“It is true I recorded him demanding a bribe of Sh1,000,000 before authorising payment of our unpaid legal fees. What he is not aware of is that while recording him, I was authorised and assisted by EACC and not in my private capacity as he alleges,” said Makhanu.
Makhanu, in his affidavit, swore that he met Cheruiyot in June 2021 in an official meeting at Kemsa offices over his pending unpaid legal fees and never at any point coerced the legal officer about the payments.
He submitted that since Cheruiyot was the Kemsa legal officer, he was the one he could communicate with regarding the pending fees and that any follow-up conversations were in regard to the professional assignments.
“He is the one who solicited the Sh1,000,000 bribe from me and consistently asked for a meeting between us leading to my complaint to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the subsequent recording when he came to collect his bounty,” said Makhanu.
He argued that Cheruiyot should not complain about the manner in which the evidence connecting him to the bribery was collected since the Supreme Court has given the power to EACC to obtain evidence using any available means.
Mr Makhanu also denied claims by Cheruiyot that they were classmates at Moi University School of Law between 2006 and 2010 but admitted that he was at the same institution during the same period.
“It is true that I was a student at the school of law between 2006 and 2010 but do not recall sitting in the same class with him. It was during the period when my law firm was contracted by Kemsa that I met him and he informed me that we were classmates at Moi University,” said Makhanu.
Mr Makhanu filed the affidavit in response to a suit by Mr Cheruiyot seeking to stop the EACC from investigating and charging him over the secret recordings by the lawyer.
Cheruiyot, in his suit, claimed Makhanu was his classmate and that due to that acquaintance; he always ensured that the legal instructions assigned to him would be given the attention required and conducted in the best interest of Kemsa.
Because of the closeness, Cheruiyot alleged, Makhanu kept calling and sending him messages between June and September 2021 to ask about the agency’s plans to procure legal services for some upcoming court cases.
He stated that he agreed that they meet and discuss the matter but unknown to him, Makhanu had secret gadgets to record their conversation both in audio and video format which he then forwarded to EACC to investigate him for soliciting a bribe.
But Makhanu, in his response, claimed the allegations are lies to mislead the court so it can stop the EACC from investigating the bribery claims.
“He is so insincere and not genuine in his allegations. His petition to stop the investigation is nothing but an afterthought to save his skin upon realizing that his goose is cooked. He would have reported me to his bosses if he thought I was pushing him,” said Makhanu.
He wants the court to dismiss the petition and allow EACC complete investigations.
Lady Justice Esther Maina directed the parties to file their submissions within seven days and scheduled the hearing on December 1.