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Retired President Kibaki denied chance to testify

COUNTIES
By By WAINAINA NDUNG’U | September 23rd 2013
Former President Mwai Kibaki talks to his lawyer, Gibson Kamau Kuria, at the Nyeri High Court, on Monday.  [PHOTO: STANDARD]

By WAINAINA NDUNG’U

The High Court in Nyeri declined to give retired President Mwai Kibaki preference to testify in a civil suit involving a property he originally co-owned with nine Othaya villagers.

Kibaki had arrived in court yesterday morning ready to testify but went away without taking the witness stand.

Justice Anthony Ombwayo of the Land and Environment Court turned down a bid by the former president to testify in the case involving a property company, Mathingira Wholesalers, incorporated in 1975.

Early last May, immediately after he retired, Kibaki through lawyer Gibson Kamau Kuria applied to be enjoined in the case dated February 2008, as a defendant.

Dr Kuria is representing the former president and five others named as defendants. The five include Kibaki’s older brother Samuel Githinji, his agemate Kimwatu Kanyungu and three deceased friends, Kiiru Gachinga, Gadson Gitonga and Kibera Gatu.

The contested company owns a commercial property that hosts a middle-class entertainment spot.

After he had allowed Kibaki’s witness statements to be admitted as evidence in the case, Justice Ombwayo turned down the former president’s plea to give his evidence as the first witness in the case.

The judge said although the sections of the Criminal Procedure Code allowed the court to disregard chronological evidence taking, the former president had failed to demonstrate that there were valid reasons to have him testify.

“The applicant has not made a written application that would have made it easier for the court to make a determination. He has also not provided any documents to support the grounds of age or (of) travel outside the country,” said the judge.

Joint account

Kibaki’s lawyer said the former president might not be available to testify at a later date because, although he was retired, he retained a busy schedule. But the directors of Mathingira, who have filed the case, urged the court not to entertain the former president before they lay out their case and all papers are filed.

Dr Kuria told the court that Kibaki and the other five directors have not benefited from rent from the one-storeyed building since 2007, and that orders by the court to have the proceeds banked in a joint account administered by representatives of both parties have been frustrated by the other parties.

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