NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – The High Court has declined to suspend a corruption case facing former PS Lillian Omollo, saying she was properly charged.
Justice John Onyiego said the powers to determine who to be charged is vested upon the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The former PS moved to the High Court accusing the DPP of lumping her in 10 different cases with more than 40 accused persons, a move she claimed threatens to violate her constitutional rights.
Through lawyer Stephen Ligunya, she complained that there is a real risk of delay in the event one of the accused persons absconds, fall sick or is absent from court for any reason.
Omollo said lumping the accused persons in massive numbers in each charge sheet also violates her rights by denying her time to prepare her defence.
The 10 cases, she said, are scattered in three different courts, a move that might cause confusion in tracking all them.
She also stated that being a former PS in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender, she was not directly involved in every transaction undertaken by the staff in the ministry.
Omollo has denied charges of abuse of office, failure to place checks – which led to loss of money – and conspiracy to commit an economic crime.
In her argument, it would have been preferable for all the charges be stated in one charge sheet because splitting the charges amounted to an assault on her fundamental rights.
It was also her case that drafting separate charges with a minimum of three counts was meant to embarrass, intimidate and cause her mental anguish.
Ligunya told the judge that Omollo cannot be accused of failing to put in control measures in a ministry, which is a ministerial function that was above her.
He also said there was likelihood of one court acquitting her while another does the opposite.
In defence, the prosecution said the charges arose from different transactions and committed by different entities or companies and could not therefore be lumped together.
Justice Onyiego said that considering the nature of the charges and the colossal sums involved, it will not be in the interest of justice to withdraw some of the charges or hold them in abeyance, pending the outcome of other cases.
“To do so will amount to discrimination as some of the accused persons facing similar charges or related charges would have to be set free where conspiracy is alleged, thus leading to loss of money involved in the transaction,” the judge ruled.