Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya case not political- DPP

The politician's file has been reviewed and he should stand trial.

Monday January 4 2016

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at a past event. He has filed a petition to challenge his prosecution over his failure to honour Senate summons. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VINCENT AGOYA
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Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko has dismissed claims that a criminal case facing Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is politically motivated.

According to the DPP, the petition challenging the governor's prosecution over his failure to honour Senate summons does not raise "weighty constitutional issues" as alleged.

The DPP's assistant, Ms Lilian Obua, on Monday told the High Court that the politician's file has been reviewed and he should stand trial.

"We have since reviewed the file and nothing weighty is raised, we are ready to proceed come January 25,' she said.

The governor had claimed in his petition that the summons were issued by a committee chaired by Senator Boni Khalwale, who has publicly declared his intention to vie for the Kakamega governorship. He wants the court to find that the summons, from which the criminal charge arises, were "unconstitutional and unlawful".

Mr Oparanya's lawyer, Mr Peter Wanyama, and Ms Obuo agreed to have the petition heard on a priority basis so as to determine the fate of the criminal case pending at the Chief Magistrate's court in Nairobi.

Mr Wanyama told Justice George Odunga that the petition is not intended to delay the criminal case, which is set for mention on January 25.

Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo set the mention date to wait for directions from the High Court and possibly for Mr Oparanya to answer to the charge of "disobeying a lawful witness summons".

COUNTY FUNDS

Justice Odunga on Monday directed that Mr Oparanya's petition be heard on February 9.

Mr Oparanya's petition temporarily halted proceedings at the lower court last year after his lawyers claimed he was not culpable for a criminal trial.

In the petition, Mr Oparanya has accused the DPP of abuse of office by directing that he be arrested and charged.

Through lawyers Paul Muite, James Orengo and Mr Wanyama, the governor objects to his prosecution on the grounds that the magistrate's court also "lacks the jurisdiction to hear the case".

Mr Oparanya is facing the charge of disobeying a lawful order contrary to section 131 of the Penal Code.

The charge states that “On November 13 at Kakamega, being the Governor, disobeyed a witness summons issued by the Senate Assembly Sessional Committee on County Public Accounts and Investments to appear before it in Room No.4 main Parliament buildings".

The Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee summoned Mr Oparanya to answer questions raised by the Auditor-General on the misappropriation and irregular diversion of county funds, lack of documentation to support the spending of county funds and contravention of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

Mr Oparanya has defended his decision not to honour the Senate summons by arguing that he is not an accounting officer.

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