Former Kenya Power managing director Ken Tarus became the latest beneficiary of the prosecution’s change of heart in dropping corruption cases.
Anti-corruption court chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma allowed the application by the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji to withdraw the Sh159 million corruption case against Dr Tarus on the basis that there was no evidence linking him to the scandal.
“The court cannot compel the DPP to proceed with a case he does not wish to proceed with and as such, the court allows the application to withdraw the charges against the first accused under section 87(a) of the civil procedure code,” Juma said.
Eight other co-accused were however unlucky since the DPP indicated that he will proceed with the case against them to the conclusion.
The other accused include former KPLC finance manager Harun Karisa, former general manager for network management Daniel Tare, former manager for network Noah Omondi and former supply chain manager Daniel Muga.
Others were the former manager for labour and transport projects John Mwaura, former chief accountant James Muriuki, and tender opening committee members Bernard Githui and Evelyne Amondi.
They were charged in July 2018 with conspiracy to pay Sh159 million to companies not qualified to offer transportation services and carelessly giving out the tender without following due process.
According to the charge sheet, the accused persons conspired to commit an economic crime by failing to comply with guidelines relating to procurement which led to the fraudulent payment of Sh159 million to companies that were unprocedurally pre-qualified.
In the case against Tarus, the DPP, through his assistant Alexander Muteti, told the court that after reviewing the evidence tendered so far, they had established that no evidence had been revealed against the former MD.
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The magistrate ruled that since the other accused did not oppose the application to drop the charges against the ex-MD, the court would allow it.
“The court has considered that the application is not opposed and would have only declined the request to discharge the accused if it amounted to an abuse of the court process,” ruled Juma.
She however said the DPP is free to reopen the case against Dr Tarus in the future should they come across more evidence.
This is the second time Dr Tarus is being left off the hook in relation to corruption charges he faced over illegal contracts at KPLC.
In November last year, the DPP withdrew another Sh750 million case against Dr Tarus, his predecessor Ben Chumo, company secretary Beatrice Meso and 19 other senior staff and businessmen.
The withdrawn charges included conspiracy to defraud more than Sh750 million, abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with procurement rules and conferring a benefit to a company that supplied sub-standard transformers.
The charges stated that on diverse dates between August 2012 and June 2018 at KPLC offices, the accused conspired to fraudulently acquire $4.08 million (Sh469 million) from KPLC for the supply of transformers.
They were also charged with aiding the commission of a felony by helping the directors of Muwa Trading Company Limited to acquire more than $2 million (Sh231 million) as payment for the supply of substandard transformers.
The former Kenya Power bosses faced other charges of conspiracy to defeat justice by sanctioning an out-of-court settlement in which the company ended up paying Sh231 million.