Why case against ex-Kenya Power bosses was dropped – Business Daily
Former Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG
The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji Wednesday dropped charges against former Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo and 10 others after police failed to conduct further investigations to strengthen areas identified as weak thus failing to secure a conviction.
Mr Haji through a prosecutor told chief magistrate Felix Kombo that he wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on four occasions, pointing out inconsistencies and areas that needed watertight evidence. The court heard that the DCI failed to respond to the four letters sent to him between October 18 last year and May 22, this year.
Also read: DPP fails in bid to amend charges facing ex-Kenya Power MD Chumo
Dr Chumo was charged in 2018 together with his successor Ken Tarus, Beatrice Meso, K.P Mungai, Joshua Mutua, Abubakar Swaleh, Samuel Ndirangu, Stanley Mutwiri, Benson Muriithi, Peter Mwicigi and John Ombui, over failure to comply with procurement laws among other claims in the purchase of transformers worth Sh400 million.
Further, the DPP said the investigating officer had not served the accused persons with his witness statement and in the circumstances, he chose to withdraw the case. Mr Kombo allowed withdrawal of the matter under section 87(a) of the criminal procedure code, after hearing testimony from 34 witnesses and only four were remaining.
“The matter is hereby marked as withdrawn,” the court said, ordering the release of their passports and cash bail which had been deposited in court to secure their freedom.
The DPP also withdrew an application he had filed before the High Court seeking a review of a decision of Mr Kombo, rejecting a plea to amend the charges against Dr Chumo and his co-accused.
The trial court rejected a bid to amend the charges saying there was a likelihood of ‘filling gaps’, to strengthen the prosecution’s case.
Dr Chumo said he was happy to be free and said the trial has been agonising years for him, his family and his professional colleagues. “In between, we have lost opportunities, careers broken and reputation damaged but we are happy it has come to an end,” he said.
“I find in view of the foregoing that the accused are entitled to decry the use of trial evidence to fashion the amendments proposed in this motion and do agree that in that eventuality, there is all likelihood that the State has in fact engaged in a gap-filling mission,” the magistrate ruled.
The case started collapsing last year after the DPP dropped charges against Muwa Trading Company ltd and its directors James Njenga Mungai, Grace Wanjira Mungai and John Mungia, who had been accused of supplying the faulty transformers.
Muwa allegedly supplied the power distributor with 501 transformers on May 22, 2015, but 327 failed on installation and had to be repaired.
The former KP bosses had denied charges of conspiracy to commit an offence, aiding the commission of a felony, willful failure to comply with procurement laws, conspiracy to defeat justice and fraudulent acquisition of public property.
It is alleged that on diverse dates between August 3, 2012, and June 12, the accused committed economic crimes by fraudulently procuring transformers worth over Sh400 million.
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