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DPP ordered to sort ‘jumbled’ evidence against Sonko in Sh357m graft case

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has been ordered to number more than 10,000 copies of the evidence he intends to rely on in the Sh357m corruption case against Governor Mike Sonko as the pre-trial hearing flopped today.

Anti-Corruption Court chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti directed the DPP to mark the 10,238 exhibits for ease of reference saying “they are jumbled up and cannot be followed.”

JUMBLED EVIDENCE 

“The evidence availed to this court is jumbled up. Even the prosecutors themselves find difficulties in locating particular exhibits in the bundle of documents given to the court and the accused,” Mr Ogoti noted.

He therefore directed the DPP to number all the documents he intends to rely in evidence in the Sonko case with clarity for ease of reference at the hearing.

The magistrate said it has been eight months since Sonko was charged and the accused are still complaining that they find difficulties in following the evidence presented by the DPP as they prepare their defences.

The magistrate was forced to intervene to calm both defence and prosecuting counsel who had engaged in a shouting match over the said evidence.

Mr Ogoti gave the new directive after dismissing an application by the DPP to be allowed to prosecute an application which he had not served the 12 defence lawyers led by Cecil Miller, George Kithi Prof Tom Ojienda, Harrison Kinyanjui and Wilfred Nyamu.

“If this court is inclined to allow the DPP to prosecute the application which he filed on June 24 and failed to serve us then grant us permission to apply for the termination of the case against Sonko and 16 others for want of prosecution,” Mr Miller argued.

Miller said its eight months since Sonko was charged and the DPP has not furnished them with evidence in accordance with the law.

FORMAL APPLICATIONS

Prof Ojienda said some of the lawyers have not even been supplied with statements. He termed the actions of the DPP a clear manifestation that he is not ready to prosecute the case and out to delay the determination of the case.

Mr Nyamu urged the magistrate to allow the accused persons to file formal applications to have the case filed against Sonko and others last December to be terminated.

But Mr Kihara denied the allegations that the DPP is delaying the prosecution of the case against the suspects.

The magistrate directed the case be mentioned for pre-trial on August 26, 2020 and directed the DPP to avail a fresh set of evidence by August 20, 2020.

He also allowed Mr Kihara to appeal against the application to suspend the trial of Sonko but directed the case to proceed.

All the defence lawyers were directed to furnish Mr Kihara with their emails and telephone numbers for ease of communication.

Sonko is facing a total of 19 charges in two separate files, with the prosecution claiming that he conspired with business people and senior county government officials to embezzle more than Sh300 million from the county coffers.

CHARGES AGAINST SONKO

The charges against him range from conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, conflict of interest to money laundering, and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

“Between May 24, 2018 and March 28, 2019 in Nairobi City County, being the governor, you jointly conspired with the co-accused to commit an offence of corruption namely embezzlement of public funds in the sum of Sh357,390,229 from Nairobi City County Government,” the charge sheet reads.

In the second file, the governor, alongside Fredrick Odhiambo, Web Tribe Ltd, Robert Muriithi, Zablon Onyango, ROG Security Ltd and Anthony Otieno are accused of embezzling Sh24.1 million through a contract for an electronic revenue collection and payment solutions.

Other persons who are facing charges alongside the governor are Mwaura, Njeri, Peter Mbugua, Patrick Mwangangi, Wambua Ndaka, Andrew Nyasiego, Samuel Mwangi, Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi and Preston Mwandiki.

All the accused persons are out on bond.

Meanwhile, as the case was being mentioned hundreds of Sonko’s supporters kept chanting slogans in support of the governor outside the Milimani Law Courts.