Two Tharaka Nithi government officials breathed a sigh of relief after a court stopped their arrest until the High Court determines if they should be charged over an alleged Sh400 million fake tender.
The tender involves renovation of coffee factories.
Agriculture Executive Njue Njagi and Cooperatives Chief Officer Micheni Kibati were arrested and produced in court on claims that they had neglected their official duty by failing to prevent farmers’ societies from entering into fictitious contracts.
Through their lawyer, Mr Muthomi Gitari, the two moved to the High Court to challenge the arrest and proposed charges, arguing they had no responsibility in the matter because cooperative societies are autonomous.
The High Court in Chuka issued orders barring the arrest and prosecution of the two until a thorough investigation was done to ascertain whether they had a duty to protect the farmers.
However, police went on and arrested Mr Njue and Mr Kibati and produced them in the lower court against the High Court order, a move that they challenged.
Chuka Chief Magistrate Joyce Gandani ruled that the two should remain free as ordered by the High Court until the case on whether they neglected their duty is heard and determined.
The two have since filed a contempt of court case in the High Court against the police and the office of the chief public prosecutor in relation to their arrest and arraignment against the stay orders.
Ms Caroline Karanja, from Kirinyaga County, the main suspect in the matter, has been charged with defrauding 27 farmers’ cooperative societies in Tharaka Nithi of Sh400 million while pretending to be an official with the International Coffee Organization (ICO). She is out on bond.
She is accused of duping managers of coffee cooperative societies into signing fictitious contracts for renovating factories between April 1 and October 14, 2021.