Court of Appeal frees 7 Parliament staffers accused of conspiracy to steal Ksh.70M


Court of Appeal frees 7 Parliament staffers accused of conspiracy to steal Ksh.70M
Seven senior National Assembly staff members accused of abuse of office and conspiracy to steal over Ksh.70 million appear in court. PHOTO | DZUYA WALTER | CITIZEN DIGITAL

In Summary

  • The court, in the judgement that set aside a previous ruling by the High Court ordering that trial continues, declared the suspects free.
  • The three-judge bench was composed of William Ouko, Asike Makhandia and Otieno Odek.
  • The appeal emanated from the High Court judgement that reviewed a magistrate's decision to acquit the seven.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday acquitted seven senior National Assembly staff members accused of abuse of office and conspiracy to steal over Ksh.70 million.

The court, in the judgement that set aside a previous ruling by the High Court ordering that trial continues, declared the suspects — Samuel Otieno Obudo, Mary Gathiga, Keith Musyoka, Alloys Nyambaraiga, David Mulinge, George Omondi and Benjamin Njathi — free.

The three-judge bench composed of Justices William Ouko, Asike Makhandia and Otieno Odek stated that: “It’s on this premise that we allow the appeal, and set aside the ruling and order of the High Court dated March 2, 2017.”

The appeal emanated from the High Court judgement that reviewed a magistrate’s decision to acquit the seven.

The suspects had appeared before the lower court where they were charged with nine counts, among them; conspiracy to commit felony, abuse of office, and making a document without.

The accused, in the matter in which the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) was the complainant, pleaded not guilty to the charges on November 10, 2015.

The lower court ruled that the suspects be acquitted, prompting the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to move to the High Court.

The High Court then overturned that decision ordering the matter at the lower court to continue, hence the seven moved to the Court of Appeal.

“It was an error. A court cannot invoke inherent jurisdiction to avoid the provisions of a statute. Nor can the provisions of the law be equated to a mere technicality so as to invite the application of Article 159 of the Constitution,” ruled the Appellate Court.

“In any event, we note from the proceedings that the respondent had intimated, when applying for the proceedings and ruling of the magistrate, that it desired to appeal as opposed to seeking revision.”

The court heard that the accused committed the offences on diverse dates between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015 at Parliament buildings.

The seven, who have been out on Ksh.1 million bond with an alternative cash bail of Ksh.300,000, have since sought closure of the file.

Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, however, said he will first peruse the Appellate Court judgement before making further directions.

The matter will be mentioned on June 11, 2019.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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