Court halts Sh1.7bn graft case against 9 GDC ex-managers
What you need to know:
- The DPP recommended charges against the officials in November 2015 but the hearing is yet to begin at the Anti-Corruption Court due to petitions challenging the decision.
- The application by former GDC Company Secretary Praxidis Namoni Sais seeks suspension of the appellate court’s judgement pending hearing and determination of her appeal.
The Sh1.7 billion graft case against nine former managers of the Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) will not be concluded any time soon as the Supreme Court has temporarily stopped the Director of Public Prosecution from proceeding with the trial.
The DPP recommended charges against the officials in November 2015 but the hearing is yet to begin at the Anti-Corruption Court due to petitions challenging the decision.
The besieged former managers have obtained an order from the Supreme Court, directing the DPP, the chief magistrate’s court and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to suspend the criminal trial pending determination of an appeal.
A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice David Maraga suspended a September 2019 order by the Court of Appeal, that allowed prosecution of the ex-officials.
This followed an application by former GDC Company Secretary Praxidis Namoni Sais, who sought suspension of the appellate court’s judgement pending hearing and determination of her appeal.
The judges further directed that Ms Saisi’s appeal be combined with another filed by her eight colleagues whose prosecution was also suspended in April.
While urging the apex court to suspend execution of the appellate court’s ruling, Ms Saisi said that by being dragged through a lengthy criminal trial, her dignity may not be restored if her appeal is not heard.
The judges heard that the continuation of the proceedings in the Anti-Corruption Court will greatly prejudice her and she will be required to defend herself.
Her colleagues in the appeal are Silas Simiyu (former managing director), Godwin Mwagae Mwawongo, Peter Ayodo Omenda (consultant) and tender committee members Abraham Kipchirchir Saat, Michael Maingi Mbevi, Nicholas Weke, Caleb Mbayi and Bruno Linyiru.
The application was heard by CJ Maraga, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu and justices Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola.
The judges found that the applicants have an arguable case which would be rendered nugatory in the absence of intervention by way of suspending execution of the decision by the appellate court.
On December 27, 2016, Justice George Odunga declared prosecution of the ex-officials unconstitutional and ordered the Anti-Corruption Court not to proceed with a criminal trial.
The EACC and DPP filed an appeal but the appellate judges quashed it.
The dispute started when the tender for provision of rig moving services for Menengai Geothermal Project was advertised on July 4, 2012.
According to the EACC, the tender committee members inflated the rig movement charges of 40 lots from Sh15 million to Sh42 million each.
The tender was awarded to Bonafide Clearing and Forwarding Company.
The officials were charged with willful failure to comply with procurement laws and inappropriate influence on evaluation, contrary to the law.