, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says it will appeal the acquittal of former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi and two others on charges of conspiring to commit an economic crime through the purchase of property for a Kenyan chancery and ambassador’s residence in Tokyo at a price far above market rate.
In a press statement, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jacob Ondari faulted the acquittal of Mwangi, former Chargé d’affaires at the Japanese embassy Allan Mburu and former deputy director of administration in the ministry, Anthony Muchiri, for a lack of evidence and said the State would challenge the decision.
“The DPP is dissatisfied with the said decision… the learned Magistrate (Kennedy) Bidali erred in acquitting all the accused persons,” Ondari stated before going ahead to outline the grounds on which they will be appealing.
He said the magistrate had in his own ruling noted that some procurement offences were committed and defended the decision not to charge all the members of the Ministerial Tender Committee who approved the purchase and who Bidali adjudged should have been the persons rightfully charged for flouting procurement procedure.
“The evidence on record clearly demonstrates that the accused persons (Thuita et al) were the originators and architects of the procurement process long before the matter was placed before the tender committee without adequate disclosure of the procurement process,” Ondari defended.
He also accused the courts of hampering the prosecution’s case by failing to allow an application for calling of evidence of witnesses based in Japan.
“This application was rejected by the Trial Court and on appeal, by the High Court, on the ground that the accused persons were not given adequate notice of the calling of these witnesses. This was despite the fact that witness statements of the six witnesses based in Japan had been supplied to their defence long before the application. Consequently the DPP was forced to close his case prematurely.”
Mwangi and Mburu were accused on diverse dates between January and October 2009 of approving the purchase of property for a Chancery of the Kenya Embassy and ambassador’s residence at a price of 1.75 billion Japanese Yen, “while aware that a fair price could have been obtained had proper procurement procedures adhered to.”
Mwangi and Mburu were also accused of abusing their respective offices by sanctioning the purchase of the property and by improperly conferring a benefit of 318,700,000 Japanese Yen to Nobuo Kuriyama.
Mburu faced a separate charge of signing the contract at the Kenyan Embassy in Tokyo Japan on June 30, 2009 without lawful authority.