NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has applied for mutual legal assistance from Japan in a case dealing with the alleged fraudulent acquisition of property for the chancery of the Kenyan embassy and ambassador’s residence in Tokyo.
Prosecutor Jacob Ondari told the court on Wednesday that eight of the witnesses on whose testimony they hope to successfully prosecute a case against former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi and two others are Japanese residents who would be unable to give their testimony in Kenya.
He told the court that due to family, health and work concerns, they would be unable to make their way to Kenya to testify and therefore applied to have them testify before a court in Japan and have their testimony admitted as evidence by the Kenyan anti-corruption court.
A request which he said was in line with section 154, 155 and 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The DPP seeks the testimony of Hidehiko Takashahi a real estate agent, Akiyoshi Ohtake a legal scrivener, Shoji Yanagawa an attorney, Selichiro Yamaguchi a public servant, Tsuyoshi Takano, a real estate appraiser, Yoshito Kijima, a real estate agent, Nobuo Kuriyama, and Takaomi Inoue, an organised crime bureau officer.
Mwangi, Allan Mburu who was the Charge d’affaires at the Kenyan Embassy in Tokyo and Anthony Mwaniki Muchiri who was Kenya’s ambassador to Libya are facing abuse of office charges on suspicion of approving the acquisition of the above mentioned property in Tokyo at Sh1.63 billion above fair market value, “while aware that a fair market price could have been obtained had proper procurement procedures been adhered to.”
The Tokyo scandal emerged in 2010 after a probe revealed that officials allegedly chose to buy the property from a private seller instead of the Japanese government, which had offered a lower price.
As a parliamentary committee investigation was launched to look into it, Mwangi and the then Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula stepped down for 10 months and were later reinstated.
It was for this reason that Mwangi and his co-accused challenged their prosecution over the deal before the High Court.
Their petition was however dismissed on the grounds that they could present it as their defence before the anti-corruption court.