Ruto’s fraud case hits a snag

October 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – The multi-million shilling fraud case facing suspended Cabinet Minister William Ruto failed to take off on Tuesday morning due to lack of a High Court order in the file forwarded to the Magistrate’s court.

Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei said the mention of the case could not proceed because the file brought before him did not contain an order from the High Court, certifying that the constitutional application filed by the Eldoret North MP had been dismissed.

“The file that is with me here does not contain a High Court order and the matter cannot proceed without such an order. It is procedural that we have that order for the matter to proceed,” Mr Mutembei told a packed court.

Lawyer Katwa Kigen who is representing the suspended Higher Education Minister pleaded to have the case proceed and even displayed an order from the High Court but Mr Mutembei maintained that it had to be certified.

“Your honour I even have the judgment from the High Court here with me but it is not certified.  I plead that we adjourn the matter to this afternoon to enable us try to locate the order that is missing in the file. My clients are already here,” he said.

In response, Mr Mutembei said: “If you can chase the file and have it brought here then we can proceed with the matter at 2.30 pm.”

Mr Ruto was in the dock together with former aide to ex-President Daniel Moi’s, Joshua Kulei, and Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita ready for the mention of the case which was adjourned twice on Tuesday morning.

Earlier, the case which was scheduled for mention in the morning failed to take off after its file failed to be located among cases lined up.

Mr Kigen told the court he did not understand why the file had not been brought to the Magistrate’s court yet he had been assured it would be there.

“Your honour, it is the failure of the Judiciary. On our part we are ready to proceed with the matter,” he protested.

Mr Ruto and his co-accused were scheduled to appear for the mention of the case on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Ruto was charged at the Magistrate’s court in 2004 with defrauding the Kenya Pipeline Company [KPC] of  Sh 96 million over the sale of a parcel of land illegally hived off Ngong Forest.

Court documents indicate that Mr Ruto had received some Sh 9.9 million in the first installment and a further Sh 57.8 million and 28 million, claiming he was in a position to sell the land to the KPC. The land belongs to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Mr Ruto later filed a constitutional reference at the High Court, arguing that proceeding with the case amounted to a violation of his rights.

The application was dismissed two weeks ago by the High Court which ordered that the case proceeds at the Magistrate’s court.

Mr Ruto was consequently suspended from the Cabinet pending determination of the criminal case.

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