Haji denies ever going to Italy to probe Kimwarer, Arror dams scandal

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 19 Mar, 2021 15:17 | 2 mins read
Kinoti and Haji
DPP Noordin Haji (left) and DCI head George Kinoti at a past function. PHOTO | FILE
DPP Noordin Haji (left) and DCI head George Kinoti at a past function. PHOTO | FILE

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji has denied ever going to Italy to investigate the multi-billion-shilling Kimwarer and Arror dams’ scandal case.

This is after former Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Henry Rotich asked Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti to compel the DPP to supply him with the investigation report from Italy where Haji allegedly made a trip over the investigations into the scam.

On Friday, March 19, through lawyer Paul Ng’arua, Rotich told the trial magistrate that he had not been supplied with the said report for the period July 1 and 20, 2019.

"The DPP has not disclosed to us their findings and notes of their investigation's trip to Italy." said his lawyer.

Ng'arua said in 2019 the DPP and Directorate of Criminal Investigations issued a statement to the press, saying they were to travel to Italy and South Africa to investigate the dams' scandal.

The court heard that they had travelled to Italy to recover Sh1.1billion from an insurance company known as Sace.

"You were misled when you were told that DPP Haji went to Italy and South Africa. The DPP does not engage in investigations nor is he interested in investigations but his only role is to prosecute," said the DPP through senior state counsel Ali Taib.

During the pretrial conference, Rotich further asked the DCI, through the investigating officer, Thomas Tanui, to supply him with witness statements of former Treasury Principal Secretary (PS) Kamau Thugge and former Wildlife PS Susan Koech.

The two former government officials have since been made state witnesses.

Rotich wants access to the statements that they made during the inquiry before the charges against them were withdrawn through plea bargaining.

The former Treasury boss told the court the prosecution has only supplied him with 11 statements of the two former PSs'.

However, the prosecution said that it has lined up 52 witnesses to testify against Rotich and his co-accused persons.

The DPP, through state counsel Alexander Muteti, said the case will take approximately 524 hours, about three months, to conclude.

He said they have supplied over 50,000 evidence documents electronically to be relied upon by the prosecution.

“Considering the complexity of this case, in terms of the number of accused persons and voluminous documentary evidence, the time is enough to conclude the case,” said Muteti.

However, Rotich said he would require 680 hours to cross-examine all the state witnesses in the case and eight hours a day for the hearing of the matter.

Meanwhile, the court heard that the Italian government is yet to repatriate 18 of its nationals, who are on the run, to face charges in the case.

The 18 Italians are the directors of the companies that were awarded the multi-billion shilling tender for the construction of the two dams.

On July 23, 2019, Rotich was accused of flouting procurement procedures in awarding a contract worth over Sh63 billion for the construction of the two dams to Italian firm CMC de Ravenna.

They were accused of taking part in fraud in the planned construction of the two multi-purpose dam projects in Kimwarer and Arror, Elgeyo Marakwet.

The charges they faced included conspiracy to defraud, failure to comply with procurement laws, engaging in a project without prior planning, and abuse of office among other economic crimes.

The matter will be mentioned on April 23 for the court to give its ruling on the pre-trial directions.

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