Kulei cuts deal in Sh96m Ruto case

January 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – The Sh96 million fraud case against suspended Cabinet Minister William Ruto has been delayed until Thursday to allow one of his co-accused negotiate a plea bargain.

Former President Daniel Moi\’s aide Joshua Kulei has opted to negotiate an out of court settlement with the Attorney General to have the Sh58 million theft case he\’s facing along with firm Sovereign Limited terminated.

Mr Kulei had on November 26 last year written to the Attorney General seeking to have the case settled. Mr Kulei was accused of defrauding Kenya Pipeline Company of the money in 2001.

While Mr Ruto is charged with obtaining 38.8 million shillings through false pretence that he had a land in Ngong to sell to KPC.

When the case came up for hearing on Monday, Mr Kulei\’s lawyer Timothy Naeku informed the court that they were yet to settle on an offer from the AG\’s office and sought for adjournment of the case for at least one week.

The court last year ruled that Mr Ruto had a case to answer over the controversial sale of the Ngong forest land to the Kenya Pipeline Company 10 years ago.

The Minister had moved to court to block the fraud case arguing that it was a violation of his fundamental rights and was also meant to curtail his political ambitions.

The AG through senior state counsel Vincent Wohoro conceded that they had received Mr Kulei\’s request but asked the court for more time to consult with his clients who included the Kenya Pipeline Company.

He also told the court that he needed time to get the AG\’s and the Director of CID\’s input in the matter.

Mr Ruto\’s lawyer Kioko Kilukumi raised objections saying his client was anxious to have the matter concluded since he is on suspension from his ministerial post over the case.

The trial which was to go on for the next 12 days has now been adjourned to January 27 when the AG and Mr Kulei are expected to have come up with an agreement.

Under the Criminal Procedure Act 11 of 2008 a suspect in a criminal case can enter into plea bargain with the State to have matters settled. However lawyers say that such a party must first plead guilty to the charges and agree on either restitution or any other settlement.

A legal expert who didn\’t want to be named said the AG might opt to withdraw the case against Mr Kulei so that the case against the others can proceed.

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