KHRC sues prosecutors for allege*ly mishan*ling of Ksh63B Arror, Kimw*rer dams case

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 2 Jan, 2024 16:59 | 2 mins read
Court gavel.
Court gavel. PHOTO/Pexels

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and three others have filed a lawsuit against prosecutors Geoffrey Obiri and Oliver Mureithi, accusing them of mishandling the Ksh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams case, citing prosecutorial misconduct.

In a petition filed before Milimani High Court, the petitioners - KHRC, Transparency International, Katiba Institute, and Africa Center for Open Governance (Africog) - seek accountability for the "reckless dereliction of duty" by prosecution counsel that led to the collapse of the multi-billion case against Rotrich and his co-accused persons.

The organizations, through their lawyer Ochiel Dudley, have requested the court to lift the immunity of the prosecutorial counsel and hold them personally liable if the former accused individuals pursue damages for malicious prosecution.

They also request the court to impose fines on DPP Renson Ingonga and his two junior officers, Obiri and Mureithi, to discourage future neglect of prosecutorial duty and to protect the public from unnecessary costs resulting from the accused's actions.

"A declaration does issue that the Director of Public Prosecution and prosecution counsel Geoffrey Obiri and Oliver Mureithi violated Articles 10, 73, 175(10) and (11), and 249 Constitution as read with section 4 of the ODPP Act by their “reckless dereliction of duty” and lack of independence in the Ksh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer Dams case," they seek.

KHRC demands

Further, the lobby groups are seeking to have Obiri and Mureith barred from holding a state office.

"The fact that the prosecution scheduled and failed to interrogate 41 witnesses who could have submitted credible evidence to win the case indicates incompetence and manipulation. The prosecutor who led this case must not handle any prosecutorial role and must be removed from that office through any legal means," KHRC says.

The petition also seeks to prevent government officials from using public funds to compensate for damages if Rotich or the other former suspects win their case for wrongful prosecution.

According to the petitioners, the controversial collapse of the Arror and Kimwarer dams case shows that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is politically captured and manipulable.

"By failing to call witnesses, in the Ksh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams case, because of “firm instructions not to proceed with the case” Igonga, Obiri and Mureithi violated Article 157(10). Article 157(10) forbids the DPP from being under the control of direction or control of any person or authority in the exercise of prosecutorial powers or functions," the lobby groups argue.

Ochiel asserts that 67 state prosecutors violated Article 73(2), which requires objectivity and impartiality in decision-making, prohibiting decisions influenced by nepotism, favouritism, other improper motives, or corrupt practices.

"Similarly, the DPP’s decision to halt the prosecution because of instructions from third parties violates Article 249 on the independence of independent office holders," the petitioners state.

Court acquits former CS Henry Rotich in dams case

The lawsuit comes after an anti-corruption court acquitted former Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Henry Rotich and eight co-defendants of fraud-related charges linked to the troubled construction of two dams on December 14, 2023.

The court criticized the prosecution's handling, noting a lack of diligence. Only eight out of 49 witnesses were presented, with 41 testimonies going unchallenged, suggesting a possible strategy for a prosecution-led acquittal.

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