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Former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi acquitted in Tokyo embassy case

By Faith Karanja | March 31st 2016
Former Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi (centre), former Deputy Director of Administration Anthony Mwaniki (left) and former charge d'affaires at Kenya Embassy in Tokyo Allan Mburu at Millimani Law Courts yesterday. [PHOTO: DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD]

A court has acquitted former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi of corruption charges in the Sh1.6 billion Tokyo embassy procurement.

The trial court ruled that Thuita, former Deputy Director of Administration Anthony Mwaniki and former Charge D’Affairs at the Kenyan embassy in Tokyo Allan Waweru had no case to answer. But Director of Public Prosecution said in a statement that he would appeal the decision.

The ruling by Chief Magistrate Kennedy Bidali is a major blow to the Office of the Director for Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) as it touched on the credibility of their investigations and their ability to filter strong cases with a high probability of conviction.

The magistrate ruled that the prosecution’s case must fail as the proper purchase process was followed when the deal was sealed.

“The prosecution witness confirmed to court that the alleged properties were properly bought,” said Bidali.

But the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko said he will appeal the decision. In a statement released yesterday evening Tobiko gave his grounds for appeal saying he was not satisfied with the decision. Tobiko said the magistrate erred in acquitting all the accused persons even after observing in his ruling that some procurement offences were committed.

In his ruling Bidali shifted the focus to the tendering committee. He noted that it was the role of the committee to ensure proper process was followed and its members ought to have been questioned if money was lost.

The magistrate said that the State did not have enough evidence against the three.

Mwangi blamed the anti-corruption body for his tribulations saying it “recklessly and deliberately” ignored proof from Japan.

He claimed that some shadowy figures were pulling the strings in the case to ensure that he was fixed.

“EACC recklessly and deliberately disregarded material exculpatory evidence availed to them by Japanese witnesses right from the beginning and pressed on with the charges in total disregard of potential injury to personal reputation, professional taint and damage to careers of  innocent individuals,” he said.

The former PS added that the fight against corruption faces challenges as the institutions that ought to fight it are “the ones being used to abuse the process”.


He claimed that officers operating in these institutions lack integrity. “...sadly most of  these officers have fallen short  of this requirement. So far no case illustrates the scale and the depth of abuse in these institutions as the Tokyo Embassy case,” he said, adding that “a public inquiry should be conducted to weed out the rot.”

“Unless a public inquiry is instituted to investigate the conduct and behaviour of these officers, no amount of  public relations and statistics will help in the fight against corruption,” the former PS said.

Defence lawyer Paul Muite said they were grateful with the court ruling that the EACC and DPP failed to conduct proper investigations before charging them.

Investigations into the purchase of the embassy were finalised in 2009. Mwangi was charged on February 28, 2013.

The case derailed for close to a year after the three moved to the High Court. Here, they obtained temporary reprieve for at least nine months arguing that their rights to fair trial were breached by unreasonable delay in commencement of the charges against them.

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