Court frees businessman Jimi Wanjigi

Jimi Wanjigi

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi leaves Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, after his release on January 19, 2022.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Presidential hopeful Jimi Wanjigi, who was arrested on Tuesday night in a commando-style operation by armed police, was on Wednesday freed without any charges being preferred over an alleged Sh56 million land fraud.

Immediately after he walked out of the Milimani Law Court cells where he was detained for nine hours, Mr Wanjigi alleged his arrest was politically motivated.

He vowed not to be cowed by his political rivals even as his lawyers, Mr Willis Otieno and Mr Nicholas Nyamai, blamed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji for failing to arrest and charge 11 suspects over the land in question.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi said the prosecution of Mr Wanjigi had been stopped by High Court judge Antony Mrima.

Summoned 7 others

He said that, although on January 18 he had issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr Wanjigi and summoned seven others including his wife Irene Nzisa, his action has been overtaken by events in light of the orders by Justice Mrima.

Mr Ochoi suspended the trial of Mr Wanjigi for two months until March 18 when a report from the High Court will be tabled. However, Mr Ochoi directed six other suspects he had summoned to attend court to answer six counts of forgery of a title deed in respect of the land on which Kwacha Group Offices are built to appear before him on January 24.

Mr Nyamai and Mr Otieno had filed a petition at the High Court, in which Mr Wanjigi and his wife charged that the DPP, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) were seeking their prosecution illegally. Mr Otieno told court the land in question was acquired legally by Mr Wanjigi through his company, Aureum Limited, and is subject of another High Court case in which several other parties are involved.

“There is a report from the DCI’s land fraud unit recommending the prosecution of 10 suspects amongst them a police officer Martin Esakina , two advocates Prisca Nzula Wambua and Antony Maseno Anabak,” Mr Otieno revealed to the court.

He added that, in addition to the three, a senior lands registrar Mr Cattwright Jacob Owino has also been recommended for prosecution.

Temporary reprieve

“In the report, Mr Wanjigi and his wife have not been recommended for prosecution. Why the harassment now?” Mr Otieno posed.

Granting the temporary reprieve, Justice Mrima ruled: “Pending the inter-partes [both parties hearing] the notice of motion a conservatory order be and is hereby issued restraining the Inspector General of Police and the DPP from instituting, arresting, preferring, registering and or continuing any criminal charge(s) against the petitioners (Mr Wanjigi and wife Irene).”

Justice Mrima, who certified as urgent the petition filed by Mr Otieno, directed that the case be heard on February 9.

State prosecutor Everlyn Onunga confirmed that Justice Mrima had stopped further action against Mr Wanjigi.

“We have no alternative but to comply,” she told  Nation.Africa.

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