NAIROBI, July 12 – Former Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Finance Ministry, Joseph Mbui Magari, has asked the High Court to dismiss a case in which he was charged with abuse of office over the Anglo Leasing scandal.
Magari who filed a suit in court on Monday wanted the case dropped arguing that charges against him had not been heard two and a half years after it was filed in court.
Magari was charged alongside former Home Affairs PS, Sylvester Mwaliko and two senior Treasury officials, Wilson Kipsang and David Onyonka.
He alleged that after being charged with abuse of office and economic crimes in February 2005, it was not until 15 months later that he was indicted and no explanation has been offered to date.
He also protested that upon conclusion of arguments in his case, in mid December 2005, the Magistrate postponed the ruling three times until January 2006 and the magistrate declined to refer his complaints, to the High Court.
He argued that the case has since never proceeded to hearing, owing to the Attorney General’s (AG) unwillingness to conclude it.
The former PS also wants the court to declare that the delay between the filing the indictment and the start of the hearing was unreasonable and prejudicial.
In the first count, it was alleged that Magari signed a contract on behalf of the government without verifying the status of Anglo Leasing and Finance Ltd, thereby improperly conferring a benefit on the latter company.
"The charge sheet read: on 3rd of December 2003 at Treasury building within Nairobi, while working as the permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, signed a contract with Anglo Leasing Finance Limited whereas the proposal on which the agreement was based was from Francois Charles Oberthur Fiduciare of France and thereby improperly conferred a benefit on the former company."
He however denied the charges and was released on a cash bail of Sh1.5 million and ordered to surrender his passport to the court.
The passport, he claimed, was still in the custody of the court, and hence he has been deprived of free use of his travel document which has negatively impacted on his availability to take up finance related consultancies outside Kenya.
Magari claimed that he has suffered prejudice due to the unexplained delays prior to the indictment and commencement of the hearing.
He complained: "The delay it would take prior to judgement, no estimated is possible."
In his words, the former PS said a timely indictment after the alleged act and a speedy trial thereafter would have accorded him a fair hearing ,the current of which state he argued, was an ‘antithesis of a fair trial’.
"The only efficacious remedy of violation of a constitutional right is a dismissal of charges preferred by the attorney General," he said.