A Nairobi Magistrate court was on Monday forced to postpone the hearing of a Ksh233 million graft case against Garissa Governor Ali Korane and his three co-accused after the trial magistrate was said to be bereaved.
The case was scheduled for hearing for three days this week but the parties were informed by magistrate Thomas Nzioki that trial magistrate Elizabeth Juma of the Anti-Corruption court was mourning.
"It is noted that the trial magistrate is bereaved and the hearing dates set for today, tomorrow and Wednesday taken out. The case will be mentioned on May 9 for further directions," Magistrate Nzioki stated.
The prosecution was expected to call the second witness in the matter from a bank in Garissa.
The prosecution of the governor and his co-accused was to proceed after he lost a bid to stop it in February this year over the misappropriation of Ksh 233 million from the county coffers.
Korane, Abdi Bulee Ibrahim Shurie and Ahmed Abdullahi had challenged their prosecution on account that the money was refunded. But High Court judge Esther Maina ruled that they must face the full trial for other charges of conspiracy to defraud.
“If they believe there was no misappropriation of funds, then the trial court would be the proper tribunal to determine the issue upon hearing and evaluating the evidence from both sides. This court cannot interfere with a proper process before the Magistrate’s Court,” Justice Maina ruled.
According to Maina, the accused had not proved that the charges against them were commenced through an ulterior motive since the charges do not disclose any offense to warrant them being in the dock.
She said the Director of Public Prosecutions did nothing wrong in approving charges against the governor and that there was nothing to show that the accused persons were being victimized to achieve a certain agenda.
“I’m not persuaded that their prosecution is an abuse of court process. They will have an opportunity to adduce the evidence and facts they have raised before the trial court and should they be convicted and feel aggrieved, they will still come to this court for appeal,” Maina ruled.
In the case, Korane was charged alongside three others in 2020 where they denied the graft charges relating to misappropriation of the millions meant for a World Bank-funded project.
The charges allegedly involve a conspiracy to commit an offence of economic crime, misappropriation of public funds and willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public funds.
The state claims that they allegedly committed the offences between February 25 and September 30, 2019.