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Reprieve for Controller of Budget as High Court halts criminal trial

 Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

High Court in Nairobi Thursday handed Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o a first-round win against the State after halting a criminal case pressed against her for six months.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi issued a directive that the criminal trial before Mombasa Magistrate Court should not proceed until May 21 next year.

“A conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the prosecution of Margaret Nyakang'o in Mombasa Chief magistrate's criminal case No. E1674 of 2023, Republic V Margaret Nyakang'o and 10 others until May 21, 2024,” ruled Justice Mugambi.

In the case, the judge heard that the Kenya Kwanza regime wants to either kick her out of office or silence her using trumped-up charges.

The case was filed on Tuesday by West Mugirango Member of Parliament Stephen Mogaka.

He claimed that government agencies and the National Assembly cleared Nyakang’o in 2019 when she was hired.

According to him, the charges by the State revolve around allegations claimed to have happened in 2016. He stated that none of the agencies had ever questioned or summoned her over the same until recently when she spilled beans on Kenya Kwanza’s expenditure.

His lawyer Danstan Omari argued that Nyakang’o is unwanted by the current government, hence, the charges to kick her out.

“The Controller has zealously and without fear or favour discharged her mandate and has in recent times exposed fiscal improprieties and the instant criminal proceedings are clearly politicized attempts to discredit her integrity and ultimately impeach her credibility and suitability for office thus forcing her out of office without following due process,” argued Omari.

In the case, Mogaka sued the Director of Public Prosecution and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

His lawyer asserted that the Controller is clean and the case was only meant to put her to shame.

According to Omari, the Sh29 million dispute had been litigated before courts and Nyakang’o was not a party. He stated that she was also not aware of the saga that has now come to haunt her.

“The arrest comes in the wake of her public exposes with regards to the fiscal improprieties within the running of various state arms and agencies and is a glaring manifestation of a knee-jerk reaction accentuated by ulterior motives, malice and an unprecedented abuse of process,” claimed Omari.

Nyakang’o was arraigned at a Mombasa court with multiple counts of fraud, false pretence, and operating a Sacco without a license.

She appeared before Chief Magistrate Alex Ithuku and denied all charges before being released on a Sh2 million bond with a similar surety, or an alternative cash bail of Sh500,000.

In the High Court, Omari argued that the criminal charges were founded on a civil transaction and, hence, ought to have first been resolved in a different court.

He argued that Parliament held three sittings to scrutinise her suitability and past records but did not find any dirt on her. According to him, her only sin is to whistle blow on the Kenya Kwanza excesses.

While pleading with the judge to quash the charges, Mogaka had asked the court to block the criminal trial.

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