A magistrate has taken issue with the manner in which the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is conducting the Ksh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams case against former finance CS Henry Rotich and eight others saying "faceless officers" in the country's prosecution office have thrown the case to a quagmire.
While declining to adjourn the case on Monday, September 25, 2023, Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Eunice Nyutu took issue with the instructions being given to two state prosecutors Geoffrey Obiri and Oliver Muriethi over the case.
Nyutu said senior officers seated in the ODPP have been asking the two prosecutors to take out the hearing of the case pending the swearing-in of the new DPP Renson Ingonga.
The magistrate wondered why the senior officers giving those instructions did not want to commit themselves to writing a formal letter to the court.
"It is now three weeks and these faceless officers have been given you (Obiri and Mureithi) oral instructions to secure an adjournment of this matter awaiting the assumption to the office of Ingonga," Nyutu noted.
She proceeded to direct Obiri to present witnesses lined up to testify in the case since she felt frustrated and not working leading to the waste of precious Judicial time.
Following the directive, Obiri presented four witnesses namely Cecilia Ngariuka Cecilia from the office of the Auditor General and three others from Kerio Valley Development Authority Johnanth Ruto, David Juma Onyango and Moses Kipsang Kipchumba.
Upon Obiri being compelled to proceed with the hearing, he said that he had no questions to put the four witnesses who had been brought to court on the strength of a warrant of arrest.
Obiri sought an adjournment saying Ingonga's appointment was gazetted /last week but President William Ruto has been away, so the DPP's swearing-in could not take place.
He asked the court to indulge the DPP for two weeks to peruse the file and give instructions on the way forward.
The magistrate declined the request and ordered the case to proceed Tomorrow( Tuesday) for further hearing.
In the past three weeks over 10 witnesses including former Agriculture CS Peter Munya have been discharged without testifying in the case with the prosecutors urging the court to wait for the new DPP to take office and give fresh directors in the trial of Rotich and his co-accused person.
In the case, former CS finance Rotich is charged alongside his co-accused persons namely Kennedy Nyakundi Nyachiro, Jackson Njau Kinyanjui, David Kipchumba Kimosop, William KiPkemboi Maina, Paul Kipkoech Serem, Francis Chepkonga Kipkech, Titus Muriithi and Geoffrey Mwangi Wahungu are charged with abuse of office over the construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams.
The nine are accused of conspiracy to defraud the government of Kenya USD 501,829,769 by unlawfully initiating and entering into contraction, financing and insurance agreement for the development of Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams.
They face 29 charges of engaging in a project without prior planning, willful failure to comply with procurement laws, Abuse of office and committing an offence of financial misconduct.