Okungu challenges graft charges

April 20, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Suspended Kenya pipeline managing director George Okungu and company secretary Mary Kiptui now want corruption charges levelled against them halted.

The duo argue that criminal charges preferred against them in February by the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission are unconstitutional and a breach to their fundamental rights.

Through lawyer Geoffrey Orao Obura, Mr Okungu contends that if the KACC proceeds with the prosecution of the criminal case against him, it will amount to perversion of justice.  He avers it amounts to perpetuating, condoning and endorsing the illegalities of the anti graft commission.

“Institution and proceeding with the prosecution of the case is oppressive and vexatious in light of witness statements and exhibits and therefore an abuse of the process of court,” he states in papers filed in court.

The two former top officials of the parastatal have denied corruption charges relating to alleged irregular disposal of staff houses worth Sh68million.  They are out on a Sh2 million bond each with a surety of a similar amount.

The criminal case was due to commence next Monday.

The alleged offenses were committed on or about October 6, 2006 at Kenpipe Plaza in Industrial area Nairobi.

Mr Okungu and Ms Kiptui are accused that they jointly and wilfully failed to comply with the guidelines given by the board of directors relating to the disposal of KPC’s residential houses to staff members without first seeking the approval of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy.

They want the High Court to declare that the charges and proceedings against them are unconstitutional since they are in violation of section 74 of the Constitution.

They also want the court to declare that the existence of the charges and proceedings are detrimental, subversive and prejudicial to petitioners’ interest and rights as embodied under the constitution.

Justice Mohammed Warsame certified the application as urgent and directed the matter to be heard on Tuesday morning.


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