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David Mwiraria takes plea in hospital bed

COUNTIES
By Sophiah Muthoni | December 15th 2015

Former Finance Minister David Mwiraria has finally taken plea over the multibillion-shilling Anglo-Leasing scandal from his hospital bed.

He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of Anglo-Leasing scandal charges when the trial magistrate’s court moved its sittings from Milimani Law Courts to his ward at Karen Hospital in Nairobi Monday.

Mwiraria, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, is the first prominent personality to take plea outside the precincts of court.

Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo, who issued a warrant of arrest against Mwiraria recently, authorised Mwiraria’s daughter Makena Mwiraria to sign a personal recognisance document on his father’s behalf.

The document is a conditional obligation undertaken by a person without depositing any amount of money, acknowledging that s/he owes a personal debt to the State if they fail to appear in court.

The court gave the authority to Makena after Mwiraria was unable to sign the document due to his ill health. He is expected in court in February when the matter comes up for hearing.

The High Court had directed on December 7 that Mwiraria should take plea by December 14.

In his hospital ward Monday, only the magistrate, court orderlies, defence lawyers led by Kioko Kilukumi and the Prosecutors, Nicholas Mutuku and Victor Mule, were allowed inside.

Armed with two case files — 2/2015 and number 4/2015 — the charges were read out to Mwiraria in the presence of his lawyers.

The former Finance minister, who is facing charges for his alleged involvement in the scandal, alongside others, is accused of conspiracy to commit an economic crime meant to defraud the Government of Euros 59,688,250 (Sh6.3 billion) through a supplier’s financing agreement for the computerisation of security, law and order systems and procedures for a Kenya Police project code-named ‘E-Cops’.

Other charges against him include engaging in a project without prior planning, disobedience of statutory duty and abuse of office.

After the session, Mr Kilukumi said the court conducted the proceedings with a lot of dignity and were patient with Mwiraria given his condition.

The court issued an arrest warrant against Mwiraria last month. The magistrate had ordered that he come to court to take plea even it means being brought in an ambulance.

“If it is proven he is really unable to come we will go see him in hospital. That is how serious we are with this case,” the magistrate said.

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