, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Former Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has temporarily lost a bid to stop his prosecution over the controversial sale of Malili Ranch that led to the loss of Sh179 million.
Judge Weldon Korir declined to suspend the criminal trial which he is facing alongside Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and seven others, saying there is no likelihood that the matter before the magistrate’s court will proceed before his application is determined.
“Leave granted will not operate as stay as there is no likelihood that the trial will proceed before the application is heard and determined. However the applicant is at liberty to apply for stay in case there is change of circumstances,” he ruled.
This is after the court heard that the magistrates’ court is yet to fix hearing dates.
The judge however allowed Ndemo to contest his prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko on grounds that his application discloses an arguable case.
The judicial review application is now due for hearing on June 21.
Ndemo insists the trial against him is a gross violation of his constitutional rights and is ill-founded, since charges levelled against him are based on new allegations because the DPP had closed the case file.
It is his argument that investigators have never given him an opportunity to give his side of the story over the fresh allegations.
He goes on to say that people recommended for prosecution following the assertions have been shielded in order to embarrass and humiliate him.
Others he says, are being used as witnesses in order to bar him from defending himself.
Ndemo has since denied that on June 7, 2009 at Teleposta in Nairobi being the PS and accounting officer at the Ministry of ICT, he failed to willingly comply with the law relating to procurement by signing an agreement for the purchase of 5,000 acres from Malili Ranch Limited by the ministry.
It is alleged that he signed the tender yet he was aware the latter was awarded by the ministerial tender committee without being subjected to financial evaluation.
The former PS also is accused of abuse of office for failing to comply with the law relating to procurement.
The government will build the Konza ICT city on the 5,000 acres.