, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Former Kenya Pipeline managing director George Okungu has been cleared of graft charges by the High Court.
High Court Judge George Odunga terminated criminal charges levelled against the former KPC boss on grounds that the case initiated five years ago was unconstitutional.
The judge accused the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko of selective and discriminative prosecution.
While allowing an application by Okungu to stop his prosecution, Justice Odunga held that he had proved that there were other board members who sanctioned the disposal of KPC property and ought to have faced similar charges.
The judge said in the interest of justice, the DPP should cast his net wider to include all suspects who may be crucial in determining the case fairly.
It was his view that prosecuting Okungu alone would amount to unfairness and a miscarriage of justice.
Consequently, Justice Odunga permanently barred the DPP from prosecuting Okungu over the said allegations saying the court had established that investigations settled on a select few.
Justice Odunga further held that investigations leading to Okungu’s arrest were not guided by law adding that they were discriminatory.
“Whereas the court appreciates the DPP’s role to investigate and prosecute, it cannot hesitate to interfere when it establishes that the rights of the petitioner were breached,” he declared.
Okungu and KPC company secretary Mary Kiptui were in 2009 apprehended over alleged corruption allegations involving the sale of houses and the Triton scandal in which the government lost Sh7.6 billion.
He had denied charges over the irregular sale of company houses worth more than Sh60 million and five counts of neglect of duty and failure to comply with guidelines.
Okungu and Kiptui were jointly accused of disregarding the law in the sale of public property, disposing of KPC houses in October 2006 without first seeking the authority of the Energy Permanent Secretary.
He was out on Sh1 million cash bail.
The petitioner is said to have irregularly bought a house belonging to KPC at Nairobi’s Gigiri estate in October 2006.
In his petition, Okungu implored the High Court to quash the criminal charges arguing that he was not the sole signatory of documents which authorized the sale of the properties in question.
A month prior to his prosecution, Okungu was sent on a compulsory leave following revelations that the corporation colluded with Triton Petroleum to release fuel worth billion of shillings, without proper authority from financiers.