Top Stories / Counties
Monday, 26 Sep 2016 13:21 EAT
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua left the country on Saturday, a day after Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled that he should be prosecuted over the irregular purchase of 16 vehicles by the Machakos county government.
Sources have confirmed to the Kenya Free Press that Dr Mutua flew to Dubai and will be out of the country for two weeks. The source could not give details on whether Dr Mutua’s foreign trip to Dubai was official or private, or whether he would be visiting other places while out of the country.
The Governor is expected to face charges of irregular procurement after the High Court dismissed his application seeking to block his prosecution over the purchase of 16 vehicles. The case has dragged on in the courts for close to three years after the governor initially blocked his prosecution.
Justice Lenaola dismissed the petition by Dr Mutua seeking to stop his prosecution on allegations that his constitutional rights would be violated if he faced the charges. The Judge dismissed assertions by the governor that he was not informed of the allegations against him by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), saying the assertions lacked merit.
He also rejected claims that Dr Mutua will not get a fair trial before the Machakos chief magistrate's court. "The petitioner (Dr Mutua) literally jumped the gun because he has basically presented his defence of innocence in the trial court and not before the High Court, a mistake on his part,” the Judge said in his ruling.
Dr Mutua had said that his rights to expression and information had been violated but Mr Lenaola dismissed the claims, saying there was full disclosure of information being looked for by EACC investigators. He claimed in his petition that he was not responsible for the purchase of the vehicles since the cabinet of the county assembly had discussed and authorised the deal.
Justice Lenaola also said in the ruling that Dr Mutua is answerable to the Senate on how resources allocated to the county are used and therefore "should be held culpable if he breaches the law".
Prosecutors in the case told the court that “the governor obtained endorsement of the purchase by his cabinet through misrepresentation and concealment of material facts and facilitated the purchase of the pre-used motor vehicles through single sourcing and at higher cost than the market prices.”
The prosecutors further revealed that Dr Mutua “presided over the distribution and allocation of the motor vehicles without ensuring that they had been inspected to ensure that the County of Machakos received value for its money.”
Dr Mutua had blocked his prosecution despite sufficient evidence being laid before the same judge linking him to unlawful procurement of the motor vehicles. Justice Lenaola heard that there was an illegality in the procurement of Subaru Outback vehicles for Executive Committee Members and a Toyota Landcruiser for Dr Mutua.
Mr Ignatius Wekesa, an investigator with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, said in his court papers that in the course of investigations, it was alleged that Dr Mutua, in breach of procurement procedures, personally sourced the vehicles and exerted influence to single source from Extreme Auto’s Ltd.
But Dr Mutua has constantly fought the evidence with claims that as head of county government, he is only engaged in policy formulation along with the Executive members and as such, he did not in any way participate in procurement or influence the tender committee.