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Outrage as DPP Plans to Withdraw Graft Case Against Tharaka Nithi Governor Njuki, Others 

There is an outrage after plans to withdraw the Sh34.9 million fraud case against Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki.

Njuki and some County staff had been charged in court over the irregular award of a solid waste project contract.

The fraud at the county government was perpetrated by the county officials at the Procurement Department and Finance Department who disregarded the procurement laws and procedures.

According to the prosecution, Westomaxx Investments Limited, a company that had submitted fraudulent documents, was awarded the tender at a cost of Sh34.9 million.

The case was later in 2021 transferred to Embu magistrate’s court.

And in a turn of events, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions plans to withdraw the case citing review of evidence.

This will be the latest high profile case to be withdrawn by the prosecution in a series that have caused a rift between the investigators and the ODPP and other interested parties.

In a letter filed in Court, dated June 14 and received on June 19, the DPP says that he “has received a request from Governor Muthomi, one of the 20 accused persons in the case, to review the evidence” against him to check whether it is enough for the continuation of the case.

“Reference is made to the above subject matter; The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has received a request from the 1st Accused person seeking review of the evidence.”

“In order to enable the DPP to respond to the request, kindly submit the above duplicate.

The DPP has further directed that the hearing should not proceed until further directions are issued,” the letter signed by senior prosecution counsel Duncan Ondimu says.

This has angered the investigators in the case who have complained of doing donkey work and later get such orders.

“In the letter, the DPP has ordered that the ongoing hearing stops as he “reviews the evidence” as requested by the accused person. That is how all other withdrawals start … a request by the accused to review evidence,” said one officer.

The case was in 2021 transferred to Embu Law Courts.

High Court Judge James Wakiaga directed that the matter be mentioned on November 16, 2021 and that all the accused persons in the case attend court proceedings.

“Matters of this nature ought to be filed in local courts for citizens to hear the charges that their immediate letters have been charged with,” ruled Justice Wakiaga.

The case had in January 2021 been referred to the High Court from the magistrate’s court seeking direction on where it should be prosecuted.

This came after the prosecution had opposed the transfer of the case from Nairobi to Chuka or Kathwana Law courts.

According to the prosecuting team, the case was filed in Nairobi on the basis that the offenses were committed in various jurisdictions including Embu County.

They also argued that the accused persons had not demonstrated, with sufficient evidence, the prejudice they would suffer if the matter was prosecuted in Nairobi.

According to the prosecution, a contract for the supply, installation and commissioning of an incinerator was hence entered into between the Chief Officer Environment, Fridah Muthoni, and Westomaxx Investments Limited.

The contractor was issued with an LPO before the expiry of 14 days following the giving of a notification, contrary to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

Westomaxx Investments Limited then installed an incinerator they had procured from Generation Electronic & Allied Company Limited, a company which – as stated by the DPP – is associated with Governor Njuki.

Generation Electronic & Allied Co. Ltd had reportedly imported the generator to Kenya for Sh3.8 million.

The audit trail of the monies paid to Westomaxx Investments Limited by the Tharaka Nithi County Government revealed that it was wired to Japhet Gitonga Nyange (Sh8.7 million), Kenneth Mucuiya Ngai (Sh5.2 million), Kenstar Electrical and Hardware Limited (Sh4.7 million) and Caroline Sheila Wimbui (Sh0.985 million).

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