Noordin Haji U-turns on dropped charges against Moses Lenolkulal

The quick turn of events caught lawyers representing the ex-governor and his co-accused by surprise as they claimed they had gone to court to have the case withdrawn only to be confronted with another twist. The magistrate, however, ruled that since the DPP has changed his mind against withdrawing the charges against Lenolkulal and his co-accused, the case will proceed to full trial as had been scheduled.

"Since the DPP has applied to withdraw the application in which he wanted to drop charges against the accused persons, the court allows it and the case will now proceed until determination on its merit," ruled Nzyoki. Lenolkulal is facing charges of abuse of office and conspiracy to commit an economic crime by allegedly defrauding Sh84.6 million from the county government of Samburu.

He was charged alongside Stephen Letinina, Daniel Lenolkirina, Josephine Lenasalia, Reuben Lemunyete, Linus Lenolngenye, Paul Lolmingani and Bernard Lesurmati, Lillian Balanga, Andrew Lanyasunya, David Loosenge and Geoffery Kitewan. The DPP had, on Wednesday, notified the magistrate they intended to withdraw the charges after reviewing the file. The magistrate, in response, had ordered that the DPP files a formal application giving reasons why he had decided to drop the charges.

The decision caused uproar as it followed similar withdrawals of cases against Cabinet nominees Aisha Jumwa and Mithika Linturi, with Law Society of Kenya giving the DPP a three-day ultimatum to explain the sudden collapse of the cases.

Based on the magistrate's directive that he files a formal application for withdrawing the case, the DPP on Thursday filed the application giving reasons and consent to drop the charges. Among the reasons he gave were that he had reviewed the file and was satisfied that no money was lost by the county government of Samburu in the contract with Oryx Service Station for supply of petroleum products.

Haji also told the court that the review established that there were no procurement breaches in the stated contract and that no money was lost since the county government got value for money.

The DPP stated further that the ex-governor did not engage in conflict of interest having relinquished his interest in Oryx Service Station which was awarded the Sh84 million contracts to supply fuel to Samburu County Government.

But when the matter came before the magistrate for hearing of the application to withdraw the case, Mr Muteti told the court that they had consulted further and decided to proceed with the case. The hearing will proceed on January 15 next year.