Nancy Gitonga @PeopleDailyKe
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu yesterday put up a spirited fight to save his position as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) urged the court to bar him from accessing his office.
The governor, his wife Susan Wangari and eight others spent another night in police cells after denying corruption-related charges in the Sh588 million illegal roads tender case.
The eight are chief roads officer Lucas Wahinya, Testimony Enterprises Ltd directors Charles Mbuthia and Beth Wangeci, Joyce Ngina, Simon Kabocho Kang’eth, Zacharia Mbugua, Anselm Gachukia and Samuel Muigai Mugo.
Milimani Anti-Corruption chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi is this morning expected to deliver a ruling on Waititu’s application to be released on bail.
The magistrate will also determine whether to bar Waititu from accessing his office during the hearing of the case.
“Submissions, in this case, has taken more than three hours since 11 am. The court will have to consider those submissions. It will not be possible to do so today. I direct that ruling be given tomorrow at 10:30 am,” ruled Mugambi.
However, the magistrate ordered Waititu, his wife and Wangeci to be detained at EACC police station while the other accused persons were held at Kilimani police station where they had been held for the last two nights pending court’s decision.
Yesterday, Waititu, his wife and their co-accused arrived in court at 8.10am under tight security of EACC officers and held at the court cells until 11 am.
The governor and his wife were arrested on Sunday after they surrendered at Integrity Centre having dodged detectives for two days, while their co-accused had been arrested on Saturday.
At 11:15 am Waititu and the others denied several charges ranging from conflict of interest and dealing with suspect property, abuse of office and money laundering.
The charges relate to embezzling millions of public funds through irregular procurement for the upgrading of several roads in Kiambu County.
As the court clerk read out the charges, Waititu, donning a blue suit and a white shirt would gaze at the magistrate, scratching his head.
The defence team comprising lawyers Tom Ojienda, Nelson Havi, Collins Kiprono, Kipchumba Karori, Edwin Chege and James Njoroge put a spirited fight to have the court release their clients on reasonable bail terms adding that they are not flighted risk.
Ojienda argued that there was no evidence that taxpayers’ money was lost, saying the issue was largely on how the tender was awarded.
He submitted that all the accused persons were legally entitled to bail, and even poked holes in a ruling issued recently by Justice Mumbi Ngugi that governors charged with economic crimes vacate office during the trial.
DPP Noordin Haji, through his assistance Alexander Muteti, said he is not opposed to their release on bail but on strict conditions.
The DPP wants Waititu ordered to surrender his travel documents and stay away from the office.
In approving charges against the suspects, the DPP said there is enough evidence to charge Waititu and his wife, whose company, Saika Two Estate Developers Limited, received more than Sh25 million from Testimony Enterprises Ltd Contractor — a firm contracted by the county to construct roads through an irregular tendering process.
The DPP, however, exonerated Waititu’s daughter, Monica Njeri, a co-director in the family’s company saying she was not aware of its dealings.