Four former members of Nyeri county public service board have been acquitted of abuse of office charges and irregular hiring of unqualified staff.
Nyeri Senior Principal Magistrate Phillip Mutua found that the evidence tabled before court by the anti-corruption commission only raised suspicion, but did not lead to proof of the charges.
“The totality of that evidence, at best, only raises suspicion. But suspicion alone however grave, is insufficient to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. What the prosecution did in this case was to collect information and place it before court without any attempt to fine-tune it to the offences with which the accused persons are charged,” said the magistrate.
In its ruling, the court said the former officials led by its chairperson Alice Muita, and members Anthony Muriu, Beatrice Gikaru, Geoffrey Mahinda and Shelomith Nderitu needed not to be put in their defence as prosecution had not proved the charges.
The prosecution’s evidence was that the board members conspired to hire two unqualified persons to senior positions in the county government. They hired George Muriithi and Phares Njogu as ward and sub-county administrators, respectively, knowingly that they were not qualified to hold the offices.
But the magistrate concurred with the accused’s lawyer Wahome Gikonyo’s arguments that there was no offence in hiring the two because they were not required to meet specific academic qualifications.
At the same time, Johnson Kiongo and Jackson Thagana, who are accused of forging their academic documents, will defend themselves on February 2, 2020.