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I’m not protecting Mutua in Konza land row, Tobiko says

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By MWANIKI MUNUHE | May 25th 2014

Kenya: Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has been accused of protecting the chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Mr Eric Mutua, against claims of culpability in the Sh1 billion Malili Ranch scandal.

In a letter dated May 12 and addressed to Tobiko, at least three stakeholders have expressed concern that they may not get a fair hearing against Mutua because of his alleged close relationship with the DPP.

Further, the letter referenced, “Misappropriation of KSh1.0 billion by Malili Ranch Directors, Eric Mutua and Gateway Logistics Limited ET CETERA” and which the DPP confirmed receipt, alleges that Mutua fraudulently received Sh1 billion from the government under the alleged pretext that he would hold the money on behalf of Malili Ranch owners.

“We as the shareholders and owners of land bought by the Government of Kenya and on behalf of other miserable shareholders (who are upwards of 600) are aware of your friendship with Eric Mutua based on the last paragraph of Hon (Johnstone) Muthama’s statement to the police which was in the file sent to you by the CID… you are likely to do very little if you personally continue handling the CID file for reasons best known to yourself ­— most likely you want to assist Eric Mutua from being taken to court by the police,” reads part of the letter.

However, although the complainants accuse Tobiko of handling the file, The Standard on Sunday independently confirmed that even before the compliant was received at the DPP’s office, Tobiko had already appointed senior counsel Paul Muite as the independent counsel to handle the file.

Speaking to The Standard on Sunday on the phone, the DPP termed the letter an insult and mischievous.

‘Insulting and mysterious’

“I received that letter on the 21st of May this year. It is for lack of a better word a very insulting and mysterious letter. I have previously issued two public statements in regard to this issue. Even before I received that letter, an independent counsel had been appointed and that file forwarded to him. That letter is such a mischief because I take my professional responsibility very seriously and I do not need any lecture from anybody on how to do my job,” said Tobiko

“Eric Mutua is a professional colleague like other advocates. I explained why I felt uncomfortable handling that file and an independent counsel was appointed. They can independently confirm from the independent counsel whether that file had been processed,” he added.

Muite, a senior counsel, confirmed that he has received the file that implicates the LSK boss.

Muite said the DPP had not processed the file in any way and that he was carefully considering the evidence with a view of determining the culpability of suspects and the sustainability of the allegations.

“I can confirm to you that the file as forwarded by the CID to the office of the DPP is under my custody. I am carefully going through it with a view of determining who is culpable. I am doing a thorough job,” said Muite.

Serious reflection

“There is nothing much I can say because anybody can raise a letter to the DPP.  I do not know what happens in the office of the DPP because I read in the media like anybody else. However, I don’t know the DPP to be handling the file. About that matter, there is an ongoing process and there is not much I can do or say. I sit in the advisory board in the office of the DPP because the law requires the chair of LSK to do so,” Mutua said when contacted.

On April 26, the DPP issued a statement acknowledging receipt of the file recommending prosecution of Mutua.

The statement read in part: “Yesterday I received from the director of criminal investigations, an investigations file on the allegations of misappropriations of Sh1 billion paid by the government of Kenya to purchase 5,000 acres of land at Malili Ranch…among those recommended to be charged is Eric Kyalo Mutua, the current chair of the Law Society of Kenya…Mr Eric Mutua is also an active member of the Advisory Board of the office of DPP…In light of the above, and to avoid any potential conflict of interest situation, and for justice to be done and to be seen to be done, I have, after serious reflection, decided that the investigations file be independently reviewed and advised on by Senior Counsel from Private Practice.”


 

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