, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – Extradition proceedings against former Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) boss and Nambale Member of Parliament Chris Okemo will now take much longer after the court ruled that it should start afresh.
This follows a magistrate’s court ruling that struck the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions another blow after the court blocked special public prosecutor Patrick Kiage from prosecuting extradition proceedings against Gichuru and Okemo.
Trial magistrate Grace Macharia declared the part-heard extradition proceedings null and void after she held that Kiage’s contract was not renewed and gazetted by the Attorney-General as provided by the law.
Consequently, Keriako Tobiko has been directed to appoint another lead counsel to prosecute the proceedings.
The decision comes barely a week after the High Court questioned his legal authority to prosecute suspended Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey.
The High Court last Thursday suspended abuse of office case against Kosgey and allowed him to file judicial review proceedings to determine Kiage’s legal capacity to prosecute him in the abuse of office case he is facing.
Judge Nicolas Ombija, while giving Kosgey’s the green light to challenge Kiage’s standing, said he has been persuaded that a prima facie case had been established.
Gichuru and Okemo had told the magistrate’s court that Kiage cannot continue to prosecute them on behalf of the DPP until the High Court determines the public prosecutor’s legal status.
According to the two, it would be vitiate the proceedings against them.
But Kiage put a spirited fight and told trial magistrate the duo were not parties in Kosgey’s application adding that no blanket orders were sought or granted.
He said it would be speculative for the court to stop the proceedings, delay them or block him from representing the DPP on the basis that Kosgey’s application will succeed.
Kiage maintained there are no orders impeaching or annulling his continual appearance as a public prosecutor and is therefore entitled to continue prosecuting the matter alongside seven state counsels.
Kiage’s appointment was said to be illegal since no gazette notice has been published indicating that he was re-appointed after his tenure expired on February 14,2008.
Currently, the prosecutor says he is serving another two year contract renewed by the PSC on February 15, 2011 to February 14, 2013.
Kiage had practiced as a criminal lawyer for many years and holds among other qualifications, a Master’s degree in public service law from New York University.