What you need to know:
- The three MCAs urged the trial magistrate to acquit them since the DPP has failed to show any nexus linking them to the alleged offence.
- The prosecution produced a recorded conversation between the MCAs and Mr Kiragu.
Three Members of County Assembly (MCAs) in Nairobi who used sheng to solicit a Sh1million bribe from a private school owner have been placed on their defences by the anti-corruption court.
The three, Mr David Mberia (Langata), Jared Okode (Mathare) and Abraham Mwangi (Woodley), urged the trial magistrate to acquit them since the Director of Public Prosecutions has failed to show any nexus linking them to the alleged offence.
The MCAs asked Milimani Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Mr Thomas Nzioki to find they did not receive any money corruptly from Samuel Maina Kiragu, the proprietor of the private school which is situated in Eastleigh, Nairobi County.
Led in their defences by lawyers, Titus Koceyo and Robert Asembo, the MCAs asked Mr Nzioki to acquit them since the prosecution has failed to prove a case against them.
“Given the totality of all the evidence presented before this court all I would urge this court to declare that I am innocent and acquit me for lack of evidence linking me with the alleged graft,” Mr Mberia pleaded before the court.
The prosecution however asked the court to convict and impose a severe penalty on the three accused persons for engaging in corruption.
The magistrate directed the defence lawyers and the prosecution to tender their final submissions on January 13, 2021 before he pronounces his judgement.
Before being put on their defence, Mr Nzioki rejected an acquittal plea by the defendants since the charges against them were translated from sheng, which is not recognised in law.
The MCAs are charged that between April 8, 2019 and April 25, 2019, within Nairobi city county, the three being state officers elected as Members of the County Assembly for Langata, Karen, Mathare North and Woodley/Kenyatta wards in Nairobi respectively, jointly conspired to commit an offence of corruption namely receiving a bribe of Sh1million from Mr Kiragu.
Terminate the case
The three had urged the magistrate to terminate the case against them, arguing that that the evidence presented before the court was a translation from sheng - a language unknown in law.
Mr Koceyo had argued that the prosecution could not provide evidence, or a translator, to prove that mita means Sh1 million, and that soo tano means Sh500.
But Mr Nzioki, in his ruling, adopted a recent decision by Justice John Onyiego, who held that sheng is being used to solicit bribes.
Justice Onyiego had upheld that miti tatu in another graft case was slang for a Ksh3,000,000 bribe.
Mr Nzioki ruled that the mita moja and soo tano was the slang for Sh1million and Sh500 which the three allegedly solicited from Mr Kiragu.
Mr Mberia was unable to explain how money would be put in his pockets by a co-accused if he was not aware of the bribe.
The prosecution produced a recorded conversation between the MCAs and Mr Kiragu.
The three have denied accusations that they corruptly obtained Sh1 million from Mr Kiragu to positively influence a report by the Culture and Community Service Committee, chaired by the Lang'ata MCA (Mberia).
The report was supposed to make a favourable recommendation that Mr Kiragu’s school was not built illegally on public land.
The Kiragu Waichahi School, located in Eastleigh South Ward, is embroiled in a land ownership tussle with the area MCA.
Mr Mberia informed the magistrate he has been elected as an MCA three times is now eying a parliamentary seat in Nairobi but the case was jeopardising his chances.
While placing the three on their defences, Mr Nzioki ruled that the prosecution has proven the charge of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption contrary to section 47(A) (3) as read with section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.