What you need to know:
- Rading said the charges filed against Mwendwa resulted from a probe by a committee appointed by former Sports CS Amina Mohammed, which was inconclusive.
- The magistrate freed Mwendwa and directed that he should not be apprehended and charged based on the same findings of the probe team.
Nick Mwendwa, who stepped down as Football Kenya Federation president to fight a corruption case against him in court, is now a free man.
The Sh38 million theft case filed against him by the DPP Noordin Haji last July has been quashed.
The quashing of his case clears the way for him to return to the top seat of the federation.
In the historic decision, the DPP has been barred from preferring any charges against Mwendwa or even summoning him to record any statements based on the recommendations of a probe committee that was appointed by former Sports CS Amina Mohammed last year to investigate expenditure of FKF funds.
Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Wilson Rading, who has since been transferred to Naivasha, set aside the fresh charges saying they were unlawful, unconstitutional, unfounded and an abuse of the court process.
Rading upheld submissions of the former president of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Eric Mutua that the fresh charges filed against Mwendwa were premised on malice and therefore cannot stand the force of the law.
Mutua, who had teamed up with lawyers Charles Njenga and Victor Omwebu, had asked the magistrate to invoke the courts jurisdiction to put to an end the sea-saw decisions of arresting Mwendwa and freeing him at will then re-arresting him again with no cogent evidence.
Stopping Mwendwa’s trial Rading ruled :“This honourable court hereby issues orders to the effect that the charge sheet dated July 7,2022 and or any other charge sheet prepared and registered in this court by the DPP and or his prosecutor(s) against the accused person after July 6,2022 be and is hereby struck out for being defective,unlawful,unconstitutional and for being an abuse of the court process/criminal justice system.”
The magistrate directed FKF leadership to embark on developing football through promoting talented young Kenyans in the sport to rival international players like Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
The magistrate said the case against Mwendwa was of great public interest since football is a beautiful game which can catapult many young Kenyans into fame.
Said Rading: “Football which is a beautiful game suffers when there is push and pull of this kind. What is the fate of the thousands of youth who wake up in the morning to go to the fields to play football? Will they rise to the level of Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappe and is theirs a lost cause?”
The magistrate wondered why it was easy for most people in Kenya to mention a famous English Premier League club that was given a seven-nil drubbing yet this same people cannot mention any five clubs in Kenya.
Rading said Mwendwa had proved that there has been inordinate delay and that his trial was unfair.
The DPP had urged the magistrate to allow him to prosecute Mwendwa over theft of Sh8.5million and conspiracy to defraud the football body Sh29.5million.
While presenting evidence in support of the fresh case filed against Mwendwa, the DPP through Kiambu County prosecutor Everlyn Onunga, said he had enough evidence to support and prove the theft charges against the football boss.
In the first theft charge, Mwendwa is alleged to have stolen Sh2,500,000 on May 15 last year belonging to the federation.
The second charge states, on March 4, last year Mwendwa stole Sh5million.
The third indictment was that of stealing Sh1million on May 6, last year and the fourth one, conspiring to defraud FKF of Sh29,502,709 jointly with others not before the court.
Mwendwa was first arrested on November 11, 2021 and produced in court three days later.
He stepped down as FKF president on November 31, 2021 and handed over the reins of the federation to his deputy.
At that time he said: “In light of the foregoing, specifically the arrests and detention, which have adversely affected my family and personal business and whilst I’m confident of being cleared of any wrongdoing in the end, I have today, in accordance with Article 42 (8) of the FKF constitution asked my vice president madam Doris Petra to assume all functions of the president.”