PS granted order halting graft case

PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU Foreign Affairs PS Thuita Mwangi (right) with his lawyer, Mr Katwa Kigen, after the hearing of his petition at the High Court in Nairobi on March 12, 2013.

What you need to know:

  • PS is charged with abuse of office in the purchase of property for the Kenyan embassy in Japan

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi on Tuesday obtained a court order shielding him from answering to abuse of office charges.

Mr Mwangi is charged with abuse of office in the purchase of property for the Kenyan embassy in Japan.

He faces the charge alongside Kenyan embassy’s charge d’affaires Allan Mburu. Both declined to plead to the charges.

The magistrate freed them on Sh2 million cash bail each.

They have filed a constitutional petition at the High Court to challenge the criminal prosecution.

The High Court on Tuesday granted them an order restraining the anti-corruption commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions from presenting them to court to answer to the charges pending the hearing of the petition.

The court also barred the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Nairobi chief magistrate and the prosecution from requiring the two to take plea on any charges relating to the purchase of the property, pending the hearing.

The parties were also granted time to file written submissions for the petition to be heard on May 13.

Mr Mwangi, Mr Mburu and Mr Anthony Mwaniki, another embassy official, have been charged with conspiracy to commit an offence and failure to comply with the law.

Abuse of office

Mr Mwangi and Mr Mburu face an additional count of abuse of office.

The prosecution alleges that in 2009, the three conspired to purchase a property called Yakumo Meguro-ku in Tokyo for the Kenyan Embassy at 1.75 billion Japanese yen (Sh1.07 billion) when a fair price could have been obtained through proper procurement.

Mr Mwangi and Mr Mburu are accused of using their offices to improperly confer a benefit of 318.7 million Japanese yen (Sh297 million) to a Mr Nobuo Kuriyama.

The prosecution argues the amount was the difference between the actual price paid (1.75 billion yen) and the value that was assessed by the Kenyan Government, which was 1.4 billion yen. In the petition, Mr Mwangi claims that on the face of the charges the prosecution has no case against him.

He also contends that the charges are a threat to his livelihood when the circumstances of the purchase of the embassy property are contested.