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Kerio dams saga suspects seek to be freed on bail

Tuesday July 23 2019

CS Henry Rotich, PS Kamau Thugge and Dr Susan Koech in court.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich (right), PS Kamau Thugge and EAC PS Dr Susan Koech at Milimani Law Courts on July 23, 2019 over the multibillion-shilling Kerio dams scandal. PHOTO | SAM KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Defence lawyers for the suspects charged on Tuesday over the multibillion-shilling Kimwarer and Arror dams scandal pleaded with the court to release them on bail saying they would faithfully attend court.

Lawyer Kioko Kilukumi and Kipchumba Murkomen asked Milimani Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti to be allowed to address the court on behalf of the defence advocates.

Mr Kilukumi argued that the accused are innocent persons under the law, who seek to be released under reasonable terms unless there is compelling reasons to deny them bail.

Arguing for Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, the lawyer said he had fully cooperated with the investigators and visited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices on seven different occasions spending up to 40 hours with the detectives.

"He has done everything that a suspect can do to help the investigators," he added.

JUNIOR STAFF

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For Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, Mr Kilukumi said he was surprised to be arrested since he had not been notified that he was being investigated.

Dr Thugge's counterpart Ms Susan Koech, East Africa Community PS, was on her way to the airport when she got news of the orders of her arrest.

Mr Kilukumi said she cancelled her trip to South Africa.

"They have each and every attention to attend the trial to conclusion," he said.

Mr Murkomen, who is also Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator, pleaded with the court to set reasonable bail terms for the accused bearing in mind that "most Kerio Valley Development Authority employees are very junior staff earning meagre pay."

PROSECUTION

In response, the prosecution lead by Taib Ali Taib said they do not oppose bail as long as the accused persons surrender their travel documents, keep away from their offices and do not approach ant of the witnesses or tamper with evidence.

"They have been in their offices working for their own benefits and not serving the public. They abused their powers," Mr Taib said.

If they are "willing to accede to these conditions, we have no problem allowing them to be released on bond," he added.

The court will rule on the bail application at 4:30pm.

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On Monday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji ordered the prosecution of 28 individuals, among them officials from the National Treasury, Ministry of East Africa Community, National Environment Management Authority, Kerio Valley Development Authority and Inspectorate of State Corporations.

How the Kimwarer and Arror dams cases were filed in court:

  • FILE 1: Eight counts - Kimwarer dam
    Suspects: Officials from National Treasury, Ministry of East Africa Community, Inspectorate of State Corporations, Kerio Valley Development Authority MD, and Italian firm CMC di Ravenna.
  • FILE 2: 18 counts - Arror dam
    Suspects: Officials from National Treasury, Ministry of East Africa Community, Inspectorate of State Corporations, Kerio Valley Development Authority MD, and Italian firm CMC di Ravenna.
  • FILE 3: Nine counts - Kimwarer dam
    Suspects: Kerio Valley Development Authority MD and staff and National Environment Management Authority officials.
  • FILE 4: Nine counts - Arror dam
    Suspects: Kerio Valley Development Authority MD and staff and National Environment Management Authority officials.