DPP on the spot as Sonko walks free in Sh357m case

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and his supporters exit Milimani Law Courts on February 7, 2024. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Sometime in 2019, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was unceremoniously hauled to court over alleged Sh357 million graft in a garbage tender.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was armed with at least 10,000 documents as evidence as it sought to nail Sonko and 16 others.

With the help of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the anti-graft body was to make a watertight case against Anthony Mwaura (current Kenya Revenue Authority chair), Rose Njeri, Peter Mbugua, Patrick Mwangangi, Wambua Ndaka, Andrew Nyasiego, Samuel Mwangi, Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi and Preston Mwandiki.

However, after close to five years in court, all the volumes and hymns of guilt by the State were on Wednesday judged to be hot air.

Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Eunice Nyutu again put the DPP on the spot for what she said to be a conduct reeking of negligence.

The magistrate said the DPP called six witnesses who could not support the case, before bungling it.

“It’s tragic that a prosecution can lose sight of a case. The conduct by prosecution in this case reeks of neglect of duty. After carefully considering the testimony of six witnesses, the evidence adduced is inadequate to sustain the charges levelled against the accused persons,” ruled Nyutu.

A total of 17 persons were charged in relation to the Sh357 million alleged to be from the County Government of Nairobi.

In its case, the State claimed this happened sometime between May 2018 and March 2019.

Trouble started when EACC gave more than 10,000 pages of evidence without numbering them.

The accused asked the court to allow them file an application to terminate the case, claiming that the State was frustrating their efforts to have a fair hearing.

Defense lawyers Tom Ojienda, Cecil Miller, Harrison Kinyanjui and Wilfred Nyamu told the court that the documents they had been supplied with had not been properly paginated, others were unclear while some of the lawyers had not been supplied with documents at all.

“The prosecution is the one which brought us here and they ought to be ready with all documents and when they come up with an application to adjourn the pretrial, then apply to stay the orders to continue, then we should be allowed to terminate this case. Prosecution is frustrating the defense in all aspects,” said Miller.

The State only called six witnesses with the star one testifying for over a year.

However, the court found the evidence was too weak to support the case.

“The prosecution only managed to call six witnesses before they bungled their case,” Nyutu said.