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Bid to get Japan evidence in Tokyo embassy sale flops

THUITA-MWANGI-PAUL-MUITENAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has lost a bid to secure evidence from eight witnesses from Japan in the Sh1.7 billion criminal case facing former Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi and two others.

While dismissing the application, the Anti Corruption Court stated that it lacked the jurisdiction to admit the legal request to have the evidence taken in Japan.

According to trial magistrate Maureen Mulekyo, the court does not have the capacity to order that testimonies be taken outside the country.

The DPP had been seeking mutual legal assistance from the government of Japan for examination on oath of the witnesses who are unable to travel to Kenya to testify.

He stated that the eight witnesses who are Japanese nationals are unable to travel due to their health, family commitment and work schedules.

In the application filed by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jacob Ondari, the DPP sought the issuance of a commission to a court of competent jurisdiction in Japan to take the evidence in regard to purchase of a property to set up the Kenya Embassy.

The said transaction had been carried out through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ondari requested the court to give directions to complete and submit a request for mutual legal assistance that is in compliance with provisions of section 154, 155 and 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The DPP was seeking the evidence of Hidehiko Takashahi a real estate agent, Akiyoshi Ohtake a legal scrivener, Shoji Yanagawa an attorney, Selichiro Yamaguchi a national public servant, Tsuyoshi Takano Real estate appraiser, Yoshito Kijima Real estate agent and administrative secretary, Nobuo Kuriyama, company director and Takaomi Inoue, assistant inspector in charge of the organized crime bureau.

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Ondari told the court that the evidence of the witnesses if duly executed together with commissions will be returned to the trial court here in Kenya and be opened to parties for inspection.

He further stated that the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has made all efforts to secure voluntary physical appearance of the eight witnesses to testify in the criminal cases facing Mwangi, Anthony Mwaniki and Allan Mburu but has not been successful.

The Japanese Government has already contacted two witnesses who have since testified and the response received from others witnesses indicates that they are unable to leave the country to come to Kenya.

Ondari argued that evidence of the remaining eight witnesses is necessary for the end of justice and the witnesses cannot be compelled to travel to Kenya to testify.

Mwangi and the two ambassadors appeared in court on December 3 where they pleaded to the criminal charges over conspiracy to defraud the government of billions of shillings that arose from the transaction to purchase a property in Tokyo Japan where the government wanted to put up the ambassador’s residence.

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