Former Governor Lenolkulal to face full trial in Sh84m graft case

Former Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal during court proceedings in this past photo.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Former Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal has suffered a blow after the High Court declined to compel the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to terminate Sh84 million graft case against him.

Justice Esther Maina ruleed that the DPP cannot be compelled by any party to withdraw a criminal case before court.

"The DPP cannot be forced to act on a pending criminal matter and this court cannot interfere and compel him to withdraw the graft case against Mr Lenolkulal," Judge Maina ruled.
"The court finds there is no granted right to Lenolkulal for the DPP to withdraw the case against him and such a withdrawal would be discretionary. This court can only interfere with the exercises of the DPP discretion only if it is shown that the discretion was abused, which was not demonstrated in this case. So the court has declined to allow the orders sought in the application and has dismissed it with cost," she added.

Mr Lenolkulal had lodged an application before the High Court seeking orders compelling the DPP to terminate his graft case which is ongoing before Milimani Court over alleged illegal supply of petroleum products to the county government.

The former county boss he informed the court that the DPP had late last year attempted to terminate the case against him but changed his mind.

The court decision now means that the former governor will face full trial in the corruption case against him and others.

In the case Lenolkulal has been charged with abuse of office and conflict of interest leading to the loss of public funds. He is accused of using his company-Oryx service station to supply petrol and diesel to the county.

The charge sheet indicates Mr Lenolkulal ‘knowingly acquired a direct private interest in contracts between Oryx and Samburu for the supply of fuel.

He is facing the charges alongside Hesbon Ndathi and nine others and are alleged they committed the offence between March 27, 2013, and March 25, 2019, in Maralal town.

When the case resumed for the hearing this week, a senior police officer Joel Nyongesa told court that there was no procurement for the multi-million shillings tender during the tenure of former Governor Lenolkulal.

While being cross-examined by defence lawyers Nelson Havi for the governor, investigating Mr Nyongesatold court that no procurement was done for the supply of the automotive fuel at the county government.

He told the court that investigations revealed that the Oryx Service Station started trading with the county two months after Mr Lenolkulal was sworn in as the governor of Samburu county.

"Investigations revealed that the period in which Oryx Service Station started doing business with the county government was from May 9, 2013 when the firm received the first payment through a Cheque so no procurement was done ," Nyongesa said.

Mr Nyongesa also revealed that the fuel station received 231 payments totaling to over Sh84 million through KCB Bank Maralal  branch for alleged supply of fuel at the county and at no point did the governor declare conflict of interest for having his company awarded the deal to supply the petroleum products.

He said that the governor, being a state officer, abused his office since he allowed his fuel station to trade with the county government.