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5 high profile court rulings that have punctured Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption ▷ Kenya News

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– Even as President Uhuru Kenyatta shows intent in the raging war on corruption, the court is seemingly overshadowing his efforts

– This has been evident in various court rulings which has allowed corruption to thrive as time runs out on Uhuru’s term

– From Waititu’s controversial bail ruling to the lawyer Ojienda’s close shave, here are some rulings which have frustrated the graft war

In May 2019, Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, who had been arrested by anti-graft detectives over the irregular award of tenders valued at KSh 588 million, was set free after he was granted an anticipatory bail of KSh 500,000 by Kiambu Magistrate Bryan Khaemba.

It has since emerged that the magistrate issued the orders while on sick leave, not to mention the fact that Judiciary regulations require that only a High Court can issue such orders. Khaemba has since been suspended over gross misconduct.

Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu. Photo: Capital
Source: UGC

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In a landmark ruling that is no doubt set to derail the fight against corruption, the Court of Appeal has outlawed secret warrants obtained by investigators to facilitate surprise access to bank accounts and searches in suspects’ premises.

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Instead, investigators will be required to first notify a suspect about the information needed and give them enough time to comply. They will resort to search warrants only if the suspects do not cooperate.

Critics have widely cautioned that the new directive weakens criminal investigations, citing the irrationality of requesting a suspect to volunteer information that may be used against them. They argue that the element of surprise, as applied in investigations worldwide, is crucial for a successful investigation.

Yet, this is not the first time the Judiciary court has made similar puzzling rulings that appear to obstruct the war on corruption.

1. Ojienda shielded from prosecution

In December 2018, the High Court stopped criminal proceedings against lawyer Ojienda, who was accused of fraudulently acquiring KSh 89 million from Mumias Sugar Company. The lawyer did not even take plea as a battery of 30 lawyers filed an appeal challenging the legality of his prosecution. DPP Noordin Haji publicly complained that his office had been crippled as it was stopped from pursuing cases involving the lawyer. Unsurprisingly, the recent ruling on search warrants is also in Ojienda’s favour.

In a move that appeared to set the platform for the latest ruling on search warrants, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu survived criminal prosecution in May 2019 after the High Court suppressed corruption charges against her.

A five-judge bench stated that the charges against her were factually and legally sound for purposes of commencing criminal proceedings; but ruled that the DPP lacked the legal basis to indict Mwilu as the evidence was illegally obtained.

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, who had been arrested by anti-graft detectives over the irregular award of tenders valued at KSh 588 million, was set free after he was granted an anticipatory bail of KSh 500,000 by Kiambu Magistrate Bryan Khaemba.

It has since emerged that the magistrate issued the orders while on sick leave, not to mention the fact that Judiciary regulations require that only a High Court can issue such orders. Khaemba has since been suspended over gross misconduct.

In February 2019, it emerged that Kenyans would have to consume 10 million kilos of rice the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) had condemned for destruction after a Mombasa court ordered the immediate release of the consignment. Taxpayers would also have to pay the importer KSh15 million in general damages for Kebs’ “unlawful and illegal detention” of the 10,327 tonnes of rice. The rice was part of consignments of sugar and rice netted as part of a war against harmful and substandard consumer goods that was led by a multiagency team appointed by the President.

In 2018, then embattled National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri got a reprieve after a Nairobi court allowed him to resume office despite facing criminal charges. Anti-Corruption court Principal Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi ruled that Swazuri, being a constitutional office holder, could not be removed from office simply because he was facing charges.

There were concerns that such a ruling would allow interference with evidence and witnesses, fears that were confirmed when a computer containing crucial evidence that prosecutors relied on in their case against Swazuri later went missing.

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Drama at Kenya’s highest Court:

Source: Tuko





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