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Blow to Governor Waititu as bid to extend bail rejected

CENTRAL
By Kamau Maichuhie | June 24th 2019
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. Probe targets him and senior administration officials. [Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]

Governor Ferdinand Waititu (pictured) has been dealt a blow after a court declined to extend anticipatory bail orders barring his arrest by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

Kiambu Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi ruled on Friday that Waititu had not demonstrated to the court that he would suffer prejudice if orders blocking his arrest were not extended.

The verdict means that the EACC is now at liberty to arrest the governor as it continues investigating corruption allegations against him and his administration.

On May 23, Kiambu Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba, who has since resigned after being suspended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), had given Waititu a Sh50,000 anticipatory bail.  

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Inspector General of Police, EACC and the Banking Fraud Investigation Unit are named as respondents in the case.

The ruling came even after Waititu’s co-applicant in the case, Chief Finance Officer Faith Njeri Harrison, formally withdrew from the case.

Ms Njeri, who had resigned after being transferred to the Trade and Tourism department, was reinstated last week.

During the mention of the case on Wednesday last week, the DPP told the court that the court erred in giving anticipatory bail to Waititu and Njeri.

EACC lawyer Roselyn Murugi echoed the DPP's sentiments, adding that the governor should not use the courts to shield himself from arrest. 

“The investigations are still ongoing but the court matter needs to proceed expeditiously so that by the time it is completed, the EACC will take the necessary steps," said Ms Murugi.

Before Mr Khaemba granted Waititu anticipatory bail, the governor had been arrested and taken to the EACC offices for questioning.

The anti-graft body has accused the governor of receiving kickbacks through his bank accounts and the accounts of companies associated with him, his wife Susan Wangari and their daughter Monica Njeri.

EACC Chief Executive Twalib Mbarak said the commission was investigating Waititu for the irregular award of tenders valued at Sh588 million to companies associated with him and his immediate family.

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