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Waititu to challenge order restricting him from office over graft case

Waititu(pictured) was arraigned on Monday last week alongside his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u over Sh588 million tender scam but the two were released on Sh15 million and Sh4 million respectively/FILE – KIAMBU COUNTY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was Monday expected to return to court where he was set to mount a challenge to an order barring him from accessing his office.

Waititu was arraigned on Monday last week alongside his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u over Sh588 million tender scam but the two were released on Sh15 million and Sh4 million respectively.

The governor was barred from accessing his workplace at the county headquarters.

His lawyers want the restraining orders lifted arguing that the case against him might take time to be determined.

Through lawyers Tom Ojienda and Nelson Havi, he said the court can’t turn itself into and electorate and end his term prematurely because of what he termed fraud charges.

Last Wednesday, Waititu and his wife filed an application protesting and seeking a review of the bail terms granted to them, saying they were unreasonably too high.

Through their lawyer Tom Ojienda, Waititu, his wife and other co-accused persons said the bail and bond given were ‘excessive and amount to a constructive denial of bail.’

The couple spent two nights in Industrial Area and Lang’ata prison respectively before they raised the required bail on Thursday.

Ojienda said Waititu was particularly angered by the decision to lock him out office, in what he argued amounts to “his effective removal from office in violation of the constitution.”

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The lawyers are also seeking an interpretation on whether anti-corruption magistrate Lawrence Mugambi erred in locking Waititu out of office.

Mugambi said barring Waititu from going back to the office does not violate the constitution or amount to his removal but is intended to ensure the integrity and credibility of the trial and safeguard public interest.

Waititu was charged with abuse of office and other corruption-related charges after a company he co-owns with his wife –  Saika Two Estate Developers –received Sh25 million in kickbacks from Testimony Enterprises Limited Contractor — a firm contracted by the county to develop roads through an irregular tendering process.

Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro has already declared that he has taken charge of county affairs.

“We have had our first meeting and we are ready to work together,” he said on Tuesday.

“I am now in charge and the CECs and all county officials are ready to work with me. At this point, we are not talking about making changes, but we will work together as a team,” he added allaying fears that he was likely to kick out officials sympathetic to the embattled governor.

Nyoro said he aims to steer the county forward and take charge of all stalled development programs, including putting in place modalities for the payment of county workers their delayed salaries.

“For a long time, we have driven facing backwards and if you do so definitely at one point, there will be an accident. What we want to see in Kiambu county is accountability and transparency,” he said.

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