Top Stories / National
Tuesday, 14 Mar 2017 11:49 EATnmuthoni@kenyafreepress.com
Termination of graft charges facing former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu over the controversial Karen land saga yesterday clears some legal hurdles facing her bid to oust the Kitui governor Dr Julius Malombe in the August 8, general elections. Senior Principal Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi withdrew Ngilu’s case yesterday following a consent order by the Court of Appeal that the criminal trial against her should be stopped.
"Having gone through the Court of Appeal order and heard the application by her lawyers and the confirmation by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the charges against Charity Ngilu are hereby marked as terminated," ruled Mr Mugambi. He ordered the Sh1 million cash bail Ms Ngilu had deposited to secure her freedom refunded to her.
Representing the former CS, senior counsel Paul Muite clarified that the termination was only in respect to Ms Ngilu and did not affect her co-accused, who will still face prosecution for the irregular transfer of the 134-acre land valued at Sh8 billion.
The magistrate directed DPP Keriako Tobiko to amend the charge sheet and remove Ngilu's name from the list of accused persons. The consent was entered at the Court of Appeal last week and signed by Ngilu's lawyers, the DPP and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). It was endorsed by Appellate judges Alnasir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Jamila Mohamed as a final court order.
Under the consent, the DPP agreed not to pursue further charges while Ngilu agreed not to pursue any claim against the office of the Attorney General, the DPP or EACC for malicious prosecution. The former CS was charged with obstructing anti-corruption officials from investigating the Karen land scandal in June 2015, leading to her suspension from the Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
It was alleged that she prevented EACC officials from collecting evidence relating to acquisition of the land by instructing officials at the Lands ministry not to release documents or record statements. But Ngilu had maintained her innocence, insisting she was the one who invited EACC to the Lands office to investigate the case.
Four cabinet secretaries and eight top state officials were suspended in a confidential anti- graft report. They Included Felix Kosgei (Agriculture, Fisheries and livestock), Michael Kamau (Infrastructure and Roads), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum).
Senior officials and principal secretaries who were suspended include Secretary to the cabinet Francis Kimemia and the principal Secretaries Mutea Iringo (Defence), Nduva Muli (Transport), Patrick Omutia (Mining) and James Teko (Water). Other top officials forced to quit were Ms Marianne Kitany (Chief of Staff in the Deputy President’s office), Esther Koimet (Investment Secretary- National Treasury) and Jane Waikenda (Deputy Head of Mission-Kenya Embassy, South Africa).
The sacked CSs were replaced by then two sitting MPs: Kericho Senator Charles Keter (Energy) and Malindi MP Dan Kazungu, (Mining docket). Others appointed included former Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri was named Devolution and Planning Cabinet secretary, replacing Ann Waiguru after she resigned over the National Youth Service Sh791 million scandal.
Then Agriculture PS Sicily Kariuki was promoted to newly- created Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs ministry. Dr Cleopa Kilonzo Mailu, Mr Willy Bett and Mr Joel Mucheru were also appointed as new CSs or health, Agriculture and ICT respectively.
Ms Ngilu's success in the court, however, does not affect another decision the Commission for University Education is due to make on her bid for the Kitui governorship after a voter from the county wrote to the commission asking to be furnished with education testimonials of Ms Ngilu and Senator David Musila both vying for Kitui gubernatorial seat.
The law requires the candidates to have an undergraduate degree. Ms Ngilu got a degree from St. Paul’s university while mr Musila got his from a community college in the United States of America.