Aisha Jumwa, six others plead afresh to corruption charges

Aisha Jumwa, six others plead afresh to corruption charges

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and six other suspects have pleaded to amended corruption charges, though their lawyers had withdrawn from representing them.

The lawyers took the action after Mombasa Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti declined to adjourn the case to allow them to consult with their clients on the amended charges.

The amendment relates to a tender number for National Government Malindi Constituency Development Fund.

Ms Nyaloti, after issuing her ruling, allowed lawyers Danstan Omari, Jared Magolo, Titus Kirui and Shadrack Wambui to leave the courtroom, directing Ms Jumwa and her co-accused to plead to the amended charge.

“Section 214 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the prosecution to amend the charge,” she said.

After her ruling, the lawyers told the court they would not be representing the accused in the case.

“The defense is not ready to proceed. We feel we cannot proceed. I have instructions to pull out all the counsels in the case,” Mr Omari told the court.

The lawyers said they could not represent their clients adequately without getting instructions on the amended charges.

The accused denied the amended charges.

Mr Omari said the change in the tender number had altered the case and a new legal approach was needed.

“We will be seeking acquittal of the old charges. We are not ready to proceed today. We seek adjournment to take instructions. We will also seek to recall witnesses,” he told the court.

Mr Magolo told the court that the charge registered earlier was premised on a tender number different from the one in the amended charge sheet.

“Dismiss the charges. Acquit the accused, because (the charge) is based on wrong information. Reject the new amended charge sheet,” Mr Magolo said.

Prosecutors Henry Kinyanjui and Alex Akula acknowledged that the tender number in the old charge sheet was different from that on the amended charge but said the difference was in respect to two letters.

They also told the court that nothing else had been changed and that the documents were prepared by the accused, not prosecutors.

The prosecutors, who opposed the request to adjourn the trial, told the court that they had lined up 10 witnesses for the four days the case is expected to be heard.

The hearing dates, they said, were taken by the consent of all parties and a witness had been stood down and had travelled from Nairobi.

Ms Jumwa is accused of conspiracy to commit fraud through payment of Sh19 million to Multiserve contractors in respect to tender number MLD/NG-CDF/01/2017/2018 of Malindi NG-CDF.

The MP’s co-accused are Wachu Omar, Kennedy Otieno, Bernard Riba, Sophia Saidi, Margaret Kalume, Robert Katana and Multiserve contractors.

The offence is alleged to have been committed between May 14 and October 12, 2018 in Malindi sub-county, Kilifi County.

Ms Jumwa is also charged with conflict of interest, acquisition of proceeds of crime and money laundering

The court also heard that between May 25 and May 29, 2018 at Malindi NG-CDF offices, Mr Otieno, Mr Riba, Ms Saidi and Ms Kalume, as tender evaluation committee members in tender number MLD/NG-CDF/01/2017/2018, failed to comply with procurement laws.

Mr Omar, a fund account manager at Malindi NG-CDF offices, is also charged with two counts of failing to comply with procurement laws.

Mr Katana is charged with three counts of forgery and uttering a forged document and fraudulent acquisition of public property.

The hearing resumes today.