- Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his co-accused in a Sh68 million fraud case have been sent back to the trial magistrate court for a determination on whether they should plead to the charges afresh.
- In a ruling, Justice James Wakiaga said he was returning the case to chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti for direction on objections raised by Dr Kidero and other accused persons.
Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his co-accused in a Sh68 million fraud case have been sent back to the trial magistrate court for a determination on whether they should plead to the charges afresh.
In a ruling, Justice James Wakiaga said he was returning the case to chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti for direction on objections raised by Dr Kidero and other accused persons that their case be heard separately from another involving Nyakach MP Joshua Aduma.
He said in the ruling last June, Mr Ogoti failed to give reasons for rejecting Dr Kidero’s opposition for the consolidation of the two cases.
“A judicial officer is under a general duty to provide reasons for his or her decision, to allow all the parties to see the extent to which their arguments had been understood and accepted or rejected by the court,” Justice Wakiaga said.
He said whereas the trial court had the right to dismiss the objections, it must be based on justifiable grounds because the accused persons are entitled to satisfactory reasons.
“I take the view that under the principles of natural justice and the right to fair trial the court was under duty to answer the issues raised and identified by the applicants, on the objection to the charge sheet that was presented to court by the respondent,” he said.
The judge, however, declined to quash the charge sheet saying it is the trial court that will determine its legality or its correctness.
Dr. Kidero and 15 other accused persons moved to the High Court after Mr Ogoti directed them to plead afresh to the charges. They maintained that the charge sheet was defective but the magistrate refused to hear after opposing the same.
According to Dr. Kidero, the amendment of the charge sheet was a bid by the prosecution to consolidate the case through the backdoor after the application for consolidation was rejected. Mr Aduma had been separately charged with corruptly authorising payment of Sh10 million to the law firm of Wachira Mburu, Mwangi & Company Advocates, when he was the acting director legal affairs at the defunct city council.
Others implicated are former chief of staff during Dr. Kidero’s administration George Wainaina Njogu, former Nairobi mayor John Ndirangu Kariuki, a former councillor Paul Mutunga Mutungi.
Others are Manasseh Karanja, a former acting director Internal audit at the county, Philomena Kavinya Nzuki, a principal accountant, Ng’ang’a Mungai, Charity Muringo Ndiritu, Peterson Njiru, Ekaya Alumasi, James Mbugua, Elizabeth Wanjiru Nderitu and Alice Njeri Mundia, all accountants.
Director of Public Prosecutions wanted the two cases consolidated arguing that witnesses and exhibits to be relied were the same and the offences in the two files stemmed from the same transaction.
But the accused persons argued that the case should not be consolidated. Dr. Kidero argued that he was not serving as the Governor in 2011, when the alleged money were wired to the law firm. In his ruling, Mr Ogoti said in both after going through the charge sheets it was evident that there were two transactions and the common denominator being lawyer Stephen Kariuki Mburu, who has since died.