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Italian sought in Sh63b dams saga

By Paul Ogemba | July 30th 2019
David Kimosop. [George Njunge, Standard]

The director of an Italian firm at the centre of the Sh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal faces extradition to the country to face corruption charges.

Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti issued a warrant of arrest against Paolo Porcelli of CMC Di Ravenna after he failed to appear in court as eight more suspects were charged with conspiracy to defraud public funds.

The magistrate made the ruling as suspended Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director David Kimosop and seven members of the tender committee faced various corruption charges following the alleged loss of Sh19.7 billion from the dams project.

The suspects were summoned to court after they failed to present themselves last week when former Treasury CS Henry Rotich, his Principal Secretary (PS) Kamau Thugge, East Africa Community PS Susan Jemutai Koech and Chief Economist Kennedy Nyakundi were charged.

Mr Ogoti ruled that the reasons advanced by Porcelli’s lawyer, Kevin Anami, for his absence were not sufficient given that he had been issued with summons to appear in court today.

“The lawyer had undertaken to communicate the summons to the accused when the matter was in court last week. He cannot now say he has filed another application claiming the charges are defective, which he can pursue after taking plea,” ruled Ogoti.

Mr Anami had applied to exempt Porcelli from court proceedings pending the determination of an application he filed challenging the legality of the charges.

But the prosecution led by special prosecutor Taib Ali Taib argued that Porcelli is a fugitive on the run who should not be allowed to abuse the justice system by choosing when he wants to come to court.

“He thinks he is above the law and a person who can just come to our country, steal our money, break the law and run away just like that. He must be brought back to face justice and answer to Kenyans for what he stole,” said Mr Taib.

Kimosop and KVDA officials Elizabeth Kibenei, Nelson Korir, Isaac Kiiru, Patrick Kipsang, Fredrick Towet, David Ongare and Boniface Mamboleo were accused of using their offices to irregularly confer a benefit to CMC Di Ravenna without following the right procedures.

Kimosop appeared in all the four prosecution's files involving Arror and Kimwarer dams while the rest faced charges in only one file involving Kimwarer Dam.

The charges disclosed that the National Treasury, KVDA, and the National Environment Management Authority were all involved in the chain of activities that prosecutors said was a well-choreographed syndicate to steal from the Government.

Kimosop was released on a cash bail of Sh12 million while the other officials were granted cash bail of Sh2 million.

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