What you need to know:
- The prosecution has been suspended until May next year when a petition filed by West Mugirango MP Stephen Mogaka will be heard.
- The MP moved to court arguing that her arrest and prosecution were meant to embarrass, harass and put her to shame for ulterior motives.
The High Court has suspended the prosecution of Controller of Budget, Ms Margaret Nyakang’o, until May next year when a petition filed by West Mugirango MP Stephen Mogaka will be heard. The MP moved to court arguing that her arrest and prosecution were meant to embarrass, harass and put her to shame for ulterior motives.
“That a conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the prosecution of Margaret Nyakang'o in Mombasa Chief Magistrate's criminal case no. e1674 of 2023,” Justice Chacha Mwita ruled.
Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that the petition by the legislator raises pertinent questions of law and needs to be addressed by the court.
Dr Nyakang’o was charged before a Mombasa court on December 5 with three counts of fraud, operating a Sacco without a license and forgery. She denied the charges and was released after depositing a cash bail of Sh500,000.
The MP said the arrest and arraignment were conducted under orchestrated publicity and fanfare, violating her right to dignity with the intention of embarrassing, harassing and putting her to shame.
“Further, the alleged offences lack a proper factual basis to give rise to criminal charges and are entirely founded upon civil matter that has been adjudicated before civil fora,” he said.
He claimed that the arrest in the wake of her public exposes with regards to the fiscal improprieties in the running of various state arms and agencies. He said the arrest and prosecution is a knee-jerk reaction motivated by ulterior motives and unprecedented abuse of process.
“As an independent constitutional office holder, Dr Margaret Nyakang’o’s role is of immense importance to the governance, checks and balance mechanism in the country and to this end, she has discharged her duty with exemplary impartiality, integrity and fairness,” he said.
The petitioner said he learnt through various media reports and publications of the challenges encountered by the Controller of Budget in the discharge of her mandate including silencing tactics.
He said her office is an independent office established under Article 228 of the constitution with the core mandate being to oversee implementation of the budgets of the national and county governments by authorising withdrawals from public funds.
The office also prepares and publishes statutory reports, conducts investigations and has the mandate to advise Parliament on issues related to the transfer of funds to state organs or any other public entities, he said.
The MP added that Parliament considered her suitability, capacity and integrity and approved her nomination and subsequent appointment as the Controller of Budget, after emerging the best from a group of 15 shortlisted candidates.
Dr Nyakang’o took office on December 4, last year and the MP said she has been discharging her role as required, some of which have been adverse and pointed to the misappropriation of public funds.
Among the issues she has raised is being vocal about the growing debt ceiling and loans allegedly acquired to pay salaries as opposed to development.
Mr Mogaka will be asking the court to quash the charges and prohibit the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Renson Ingonga from maintaining the charges.