DP Rigathi Gachagua accused of frustrating witnesses in Ksh1.5B land case

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 16 Jun, 2023 15:17 | 3 mins read
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO/ Courtesy

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been accused of intimidating and frustrating witnesses in a Ksh1.5 billion land dispute case pending in the High Court.

Gachagua has been accused of orchestrating the arrest of a lawyer and an alleged landowner.

This emerged following the arrest and arraignment of lawyer Moses Abongo Owour and Ohas Otieno, the alleged owner of the multi-billion property within Embakasi, Nairobi.

Owour was arrested at the Milimani Law Courts basement cells on Friday morning when he went to seek instructions from Otieno who had been arrested and was scheduled to take a plea before Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina.

To his surprise, Owour was informed by police at the court's basement cells that his name also appears in the charge sheet against his client Otieno and Bernard Abere Ogechi who is at large.

According to lawyers Elisha Ongoya and Appolo Mboya, Owour was arrested following orders from Gachagua in a bid to secure an adjournment of the case.

"The Deputy President is interested in adjourning the case next week. To get that adjournment by locking up and intimidating the advocates for the parties, in that case, is a classic teaching aide for abuse of the court process," defence lawyers Elisha Ongoya and Appolo Mboya said.

The lawyers urged the magistrate not to allow the court to be used by Gachagua to interfere with a High Court case in which a company associated with him is claiming ownership of the land in dispute.

"Do not allow Deputy President (Rigathi) Gachagua to use this court to frustrate the High Court listed for hearing on June 21, 2023, before Milimani Environment And Lands Court," lawyers Ongoya said.

Gachagua is a witness

Gachagua is listed as the sole witness in the high court case for Wamunyoro Investment Limited while Otieno is a witness in the same case. Both parties are expected to prove ownership of the Ksh1.5 billion case.

Presenting a letter to the court, Ongoya said Gachagua has been summoned to appear in court to testify in the land court to prove ownership of the land parcel in dispute.

In the letter dated June 16 to the law firm of Owour and the Attorney General's office, Gachagua's lawyer Philip Nyachoti says Gachagua, the only witness, will not be able to attend court.

"As you are aware the High Court matter Wamunyoro Investment Limited vs John Michael Ohas and two others fixed for hearing on June 21 and 22, 2023, our client's sole witness is His Excellency the Deputy President (Gachagua) will be engaged in unavoidable officials duties on the two days," Nyachoti says in the letter.

Therefore Nyachoti told Owour and the AG that Gachagua will not be available to attend court to testify in support of the ownership of the property by his company Wamunyoro Investment Limited.

Seeking plea deferral for seven days in the case where Owour, Ohas Otieno and Bernard Abere Ogechi were charged with conspiracy to defraud Wamunyoro Investment Limited of the said parcel of land LR number 209/12077 IR No. 90923 worth Sh 1.5 billion.

The defence lawyer protested the manner in which Owour was arrested when went to see his client Ohas at the Milimani Law Courts basement cells on Friday morning.

"The arrest of Owour is a move to frustrate the hearing of the high court case by the Deputy President," said Ongoya.

"This is the highest level of Judiciary proceedings interference by the executive. The arrest is clear frustration of the administration of justice. How can a lawyer going to see his client to seek instructions ahead of plea taking be arrested and arraigned together."

Ongoya said that arrest of advocate Owour is a violation of his constitutional rights and a misapplication of the law by the plea.

The defence lawyer asked the court to frown at the manner in which police have been misused in arresting Owour in a clandestine manner before taking his figure prints and a statement.

The prosecutor Anderson Gikunda opposed the deferral of the plea saying there is no stay from the High Court.

He added that the charges before the court are also not defective and the accused should be called up to plead.

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