Magistrate angered by delay in case against Ex-CS Hassan Wario

Magistrate angered by delay in case against Ex-CS Hassan Wario
Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and his co-accused in court on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. PHOTO| AGNES OLOO

Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Douglas Ogoti on Tuesday criticised the prosecution in a case where former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and others are charged over alleged embezzlement of public funds in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Magistrate Ogoti pointed an accusing finger at the investigators, accusing them of “lacking seriousness” after the court was forced to adjourn the pre-trial of the case for the third time.

The prosecution sought adjournment arguing that they were not ready to proceed with the matter since they were yet to serve the defense with the evidential documents of the matter.

The Magistrate read mischief on the part of the investigators and the prosecution, warning that in future, no accused person should plead to charges without material evidence and documentation being availed in court.

“Judiciary is being blamed for laxity yet you are the ones delaying matters for lack of seriousness and coordination,” lamented Ogoti.

He further asked the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to take action against “lazy” officers in their departments.

On their part, the prosecution blamed investigators for not having effected the serving of the said documents to the defense.

Two senior officers of chief inspector rank were placed on the dock to explain why documents had not been supplied to the accused persons’ advocates.

“I was away for a training and later proceeded on leave,” answered an officer, who is the lead investigator in the matter.

The second officer told court that he communicated court directions to the main investigator through a Whats App message after he failed to reach him on phone, adding that that was the best he could have done to pass information to the main investigator.

Wario, who is currently Kenya’s Ambassador to Austria, is charged alongside Haron Kipkomen, former Director of Administration in Sports Ministry and Patrick Mkabu, who was the Finance Officer in the Sports Ministry.

Also charged in the case is former Principal Secretary Richard Ekai, former Secretary General National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Francis Kanyili and the then Treasurer Stephen Soi.

The six are charged with abuse of office and willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public funds.

They are accused of unlawfully authorising payments of over Ksh.15 million as allowances to Kenyan Athletics team in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Meanwhile, the court has directed that the investigators supply the documents to defense by close of business on January 28, 2019 before a mention of the case for purposes of disclosure on February 4, 2019.

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Story By Agnes Oloo
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