Gicheru's defence pokes holes in Ruto bribe claim
The defence Tuesday poked holes in claims by a prosecution witness at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he received Sh2m to withdraw from a case against Deputy President William Ruto.
Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru, through defence counsel Michael Karnavas, discredited the claims, arguing that they were not backed by solid evidence.
The witness, P-0341, had told Judge Maria Samba that he received amounts in excess of Sh2 million from lawyer Paul Gicheru and another man named in court as Person-19.
The witness added that although the “agents of Dr Ruto” continued to give him money, he failed to fulfil his part of the deal, as he continued meeting ICC investigators who even gifted him a mobile phone.
The witness further testified that he continued attending meetings of the victims of the 2007/8 post-election violence in Nakuru, Eldoret and Nairobi.
Signed two agreements
The witness told the court that he had signed two agreements with Person-19, which aimed at influencing him to withdraw from the crimes against humanity cases opened against Dr Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.
In addition, he told the court that he signed affidavits recanting his evidence against Dr Ruto and was once threatened that he would be killed if he, and others who were not named, revealed what they had discussed.
“Based on my understanding and speculation, I think this person (Person-19) was close to a big person in the country. Most of the time he was using the term ‘us’ not ‘I’. He was referring to a group of persons,” said the witness in his evidence-in-chief.
The witness added that at all times, Person-19 went to him with varying amounts. He told the court that he later opened a bank account and deposited part of the proceeds, though he had been warned against such a move.
The defence poked holes in the statement, arguing that there was no documentary evidence that Mr Gicheru and Person-19 gave the witness the money. The defence further noted there was no evidence that the source of the said money was Dr Ruto. Mr Karnavas pointed that the bank documents did not indicate or declare the source of the money.
Mr Karnavas: In the documents nothing says that money came from Gicheru or from Person number19 or someone else. You just said you deposited. From your statement how do we know that money came from Gicheru?
Witness: They did not give me cheques, they gave me cash.
During the hearing, it also emerged that the Office of the Prosecutor did not have documentary evidence or records to support most of the claims made by the witness.
For instance, the prosecutors did not have copies of the agreements and contracts that the witness claimed to have signed with the alleged agents of Dr Ruto. They also did not have copies of the affidavits signed by the witness recanting the evidence.
“When you tell us that you signed agreements and contracts not to be a witness against Dr Ruto, we don’t have them ... So all we have is your word that you actually signed those contracts, right?” asked Mr Karnavas.
The witness confirmed there was documentary evidence.
On the claims that the witness was in contact with Mr Gicheru, the Chamber heard that there was no communication records to confirm the same.
“We have nothing from the prosecution. The prosecution has nothing to confirm that those communications occurred,” said Mr Karnavas.
The hearing will resume today when the prosecution is expected to call the third witness.