, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – Former Finance Minister David Mwiraria was on Monday given 24-hours to honour a court summons or be arrested.
Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo who had summoned Mwiraria to plead to Anglo-Leasing charges on Monday said Mwiraria’s lawyer Abbas Esmail had failed to provide proof that Mwiraria was indeed admitted to Karen Hospital over the weekend.
He said he was also in possession of a doctors’ report filed with the court in July that stated that Mwiraria was indeed capable of making his way to court to plead to charges of conspiracy to commit an economic crime and engaging in a project without prior planning.
“As stated by Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the accused cannot continue to prejudice his co-accused who pleaded to their charges nine months ago,” he said.
Kombo stayed the warrant for Mwiraria’s arrest for 24-hours after his lawyer Abbas Esmail sought time to obtain a doctor’s report. Even then he was adamant that Mwiraria would be unable to put in a court appearance.
“The doctor’s report is clear. His limits are 30 to 60 minutes per court session. These morning proceedings go up to four hours,” he argued.
Kombo was however insistent that he wanted nothing short of Mwiraria in his courtroom on Tuesday. He also found that a medical report would not be sufficient grounds for an excusal. “I’d have to go to Karen hospital and see for myself,” he ruled.
Mwiraria is charged alongside businessman Deepak Kamani, his father Chamanlal Kamani and brother Rashmi whose lawyer Abdullahi said it was unfair for their right to an expeditious trial to be violated by the failure of Mwiraria and Brian Mills, Sound Day Corporation and Apex Finance Corporation (their co-accused) to plead to the Anglo-Leasing charges levelled against them.
Deepak, Chamanlal and Rashmi together with former Permanent Secretaries Dave Mwangi, Joseph Magari and former Head of Debt Management in the Ministry of Finance David Onyonka took their pleas in March.
Kombo on Monday decided that in order not to prejudice them, the hearing of the case would commence on February 22 with arrest warrants and summons issued for Mwiraria, Mills, Sound Day and Apex Finance.
The above stand accused of, “engaging in a scheme to defraud the Government of Kenya of Sh4 billion through a supplier’s credit contract agreement for the Modernisation of Police Security Equipment and Accessories project.”