Goldenberg: Now Kotut is cleared

November 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI November 21- The High Court on Friday struck out paragraphs of the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry Report implicating former Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor, Eric Kotut.

Justices Joseph Nyamu, Roselyne Wendoh and George Dulu made the decision in a case in which Kotut was seeking orders to bar the Attorney General (AG) from prosecuting him in connection with the multimillion Goldenberg scam.

The judges ruled that the report was flawed and chances of Kotut having fair hearing were minimal.

“The applicant has reasonable apprehension over being accorded a fair trial because the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry were much publicized and extensively reported in the media,” the Judges ruled.

“His defence has practically been impaired by the flawed report,” the bench added.

The former Governor had protested charges preferred against him two years ago in connection with the scam saying they were illegal and against the rules of natural justice.

The Bench ruled that the Appellate Judge Samuel Bosire-led Commission of Inquiry failed to consider relevant materials during the inquiry and therefore was biased.

“It would be a miscarriage of justice should we uphold the report because the inquiry has upset the applicant’s (Kotut) arm of balance, “they ruled.

This ruling therefore nullifies criminal cases giants the ex governor that were pending before magistrate court.

Among the cases Kotut was implicated in is a Sh5.8 billion theft case in which he was sued for conspiracy alongside his former deputy Eliphas Riungu and businessman Kamlesh Pattni,

They criticised the AG saying he failed to disclose a reasonable explanation for prosecuting Kotut close to thirteen years after investigations into the scam were complete.

The judges said that the police had closed their investigation into the case in May 1995 but the AG filed two criminal cases against the former governor a decade later on the basis of new evidence. This, they noted, was a breach to the applicant’s constitutional rights.

The ex-governor becomes the third individual to be cleared of the scandal after former Vice President and Finance Minister, Professor George Saitoti and his successor at the Treasury, Musalia Mudavadi.

In March this year, the State withdrew a Goldenberg case against former Intelligent Chief James Kanyotu, following his death the preceding month.

The late Kanyotu had been charged alongside Kotut, businessman Kamlesh Pattni, and former Finance Secretary Wilfred Koinange in the controversial Goldenberg scam, in which billions of shillings were paid for non-existent exports of gold and diamonds.


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