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Court orders withdrawal of blank tender document in KPLC case

Trial Magistrate Felix Kombo says the document has been questioned by defence lawyers because it has not been supplied to them by the prosecution.

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 18 – The Anti-Corruption Court has ordered the withdrawal of a blank tender document that is the subject matter of case against top managers of Kenya Power and lighting company.

Trial Magistrate Felix Kombo says the document has been questioned by defense lawyers because it has not been supplied to them by the prosecution.

The defense team led by Assa Nyakundi, Moses Kurgat, Katwa Kigen and Migosi Ogamba strongly protested to the court’s validity of the document that was used by the investigating officer as a benchmark for investigation.

“The said document being produced by an officer from Pubic Procurement and Asset Authority and is the subject the report of investigation into the supply and distribution of transformers is not the within the knowledge of the defense team” the court heard, at the opening of the trial.

The court was told that the same cannot be marked as evidence against the accused persons.

It was the submission of the defense lawyers, that the prosecution ought to have supplied all the documents during the pre-trial conference.
The trial magistrate was told that defense cannot be able to cross examine the prosecution witness number one while this very document not in their possession.

The case had to be adjourned to allow the prosecution provide the defense with what they had requested, which included the letter from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), asking for investigation for the award of the tender for supply of transformers, the letter of appointment of Linas Mureithi from Public Procurement and Asset Authority.

During the pre-trial conference, Chief MagistrateTrial Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, had told the prosecutor that its their duty to give the accused persons all the documents it intends to rely during the hearing of the case.

He further said that failure do so, the prosecution should file affidavit to show their inability to comply by supplying the documentary evidence.

The court’s directive came up when parties appeared before the trial magistrate for pre- trial conference meant to confirm whether defence lawyers have been served with documentary evidence by the prosecution.

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KPLC top managers including the former Chief Executive officer Ken Tarus and his predecessor Ben Chumo were arraigned in court, charged with the offence of procuring substandard transformers worth over Sh409 million.

The court ordered to them be released on a cash bail of Sh 1 million each.

The other managers who were charged alongside the CEO included Commercial Services Manager KP Mungai, Finance Manager Joshua Mutua, ICT Manager Abubakar Swaleh, Regional Coordination Manager Samuel Ndirangu and Supply Chain Manager Stanley Mutwiri.

Also charged were a couple James Njenga Mungai and Grace Wanjira Mungai, and their son John Mungai who are directors of Muwa Trading Company Ltd which is listed as having received millions of shillings for the supplying of sub-standard transformers.

Barely a week later, 14 directors from various limited companies were also arraigned before anti- corruption court, Nairobi charged with fraudulently obtaining over Sh15 million from Kenya Power and Lighting Company by irregularly being prequalified for Labour and Transport tenders.

The accused are said to have obtained the money between the year 2016/17.

The prosecution told trial Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi, that the accused were irregularly awarded contracts and money belonging to the public paid to their respective companies.

The accused Catherine Wamalwa, Christine Nyawara, Catherine Wanjiko, Edwin Macharia and their other co-accused all denied the criminal charge.

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