Kosgey wants graft charges dropped

August 10, 2011 2:53 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – Former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey has now moved to the High Court seeking to have his corruption case over alleged irregular car imports quashed.

Through lawyers Fred Ngatia, Kioko Kilukumi and Julius Kemboy, Mr Kosgey, who stepped aside over the allegations, wants the matter thrown out on claims that lawyer Patrick Kiage who prosecuted him had no legal authority to do so, since he was not gazetted by the Attorney General as a Special Prosecutor.

Mr Kosgey was due to appear before the magistrate’s court on Thursday to begin his defense hearing, after a ruling that he had a case to answer for allegedly allowing importation of vehicles that exceed the eight-year limit.

High Court judge Nicolas Ombija asked to peruse the file from the magistrate’s court and directed Mr Kosgey to serve the Director of Public Prosecutions in time for hearing on Friday.

The minister is accused to have exercised discretion as a Minister for Industrialisation without seeking advice from National Standards Council but he denies the 12 counts of abuse of office preferred against him on January 4 this year.

In his challenge to Mr Kiage’s status as a Special Prosecutor, Mr Kosgey claimed that the lawyer had only been appointed for one year between February 15, 2007 and February 14, 2008 which was not renewed.

“Prosecution of the applicant (Mr Kosgey) conducted by Mr Kiage was conducted by a person who had no legal authority and is a nullity in law. The participation of Mr Kiage vitiated the entire proceedings,” Mr Kosgey’s lawyers said.

On July 29, Senior Principal Magistrate Elijah Obaga ruled that there was sufficient evidence adduced by the prosecution to warrant Mr Kosgey to defend himself.  His lawyer Julius Kemboy at the time said the former Minister would defend himself by providing the court with sworn evidence.

If convicted of all the 12 charges, the Minister faces a maximum of 10 years in jail.

“I wish to state that my actions in this matter are above reproach. I have committed no wrongs,” Mr Kosgey had said when he announced his stepping aside.

In court, the Tinderet MP also maintained that no money was lost by the government in connection with the exemptions.

He faces more serious charges at the International Criminal Court, where the Prosecutor has named him as an organiser of the post-election violence that killed about 1,300 people in early 2008.

Mr Kosgey and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto are facing similar charges before the ICC together with radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

Other Kenyans who are before the ICC include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Maj Gen (rtd) Hussein Ali.

The six Kenyans are due to appear before the ICC beginning September 1 (Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and Mr Sang) while Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali will appear on September 21 for hearing of confirmation of charges.


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