Kotut gets passport back

December 15, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – Former Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Eric Cheruiyot Kotut is now free to travel out of the country, after a Nairobi court released his passport on Monday.

Mr Kotut who was exonerated from the Goldenberg scam last month received the green light to travel from Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei.

He had made an application to have his charges withdrawn and secure his passport which had been deposited with the High Court Registrar.

“He is free to travel but court sureties will not be released until the next mention on January 23,” Mr Mutembei directed.

The Chief Magistrate did not, however, withdraw the graft charges after a State Counsel informed the court that he needed more time to obtain directions from the Attorney General (AG).

Mr Kotut, who had been implicated in a Sh5.8 billion theft, had been barred from travelling out of the country pending hearing and determination of two graft cases against him.

The ex-governor was charged with conspiracy to defraud the government alongside his former deputy Eliphas Riungu and businessman Kamlesh Pattni. The Goldenberg scam cost billions of shillings which were paid for non-existent exports of gold and diamonds. 

Late last month, High Court Judges Joseph Nyamu, Roselyne Wendoh and George Dulu cleared Mr Kotut and expunged all paragraphs which implicated him in the Goldenberg Report.

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

“The applicant (Kotut) has reasonable apprehension over being accorded a fair trial because the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry proceedings were much publicised and extensively reported in the media,” they ruled.

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

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

The court ruled that the Justice Samuel Bosire-led Commission of Inquiry failed to consider relevant material 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.


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