A crucial witness in the case of lawyer Paul Gicheru in the International Criminal Court (ICC) has gone missing.
The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), witness P-0397, who was meant to give oral testimony, was also a witness in the collapsed case that involved Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang.
The witness had claimed that Gicheru influenced him into withdrawing from the collapsed case against Ruto and Sang.
He said that Gicheru corruptly offered to pay him Ksh5 million to withdraw from the case against Ruto and Sang, but only paid him Ksh1 million.
ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart is now seeking a court nod to use previously recorded testimony of the witness against Mr Gicheru.
“The prior recorded testimony should be accepted as formally submitted because the witness is unavailable and the documents are reliable,” said the prosecutor.
The witness had his last contact with the ICC in 2014, and since then has not talked to The Hague-based court.
“The prosecution also seeks to introduce the transcriptions and English translations of P-0397’s interview in January 2014 for the truth of their content, as they are directly relevant to the charges in this case, and items provided by P-0397 during the interview,” said Mr Stewart.
The ICC issued a warrant of arrest against Gicheru in 2015 after claims of bribing witnesses in the failed case against Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang. The two were charged with instigating violence after a disputed 2007 election when 1,200 people lost their lives. The crimes against humanity case was vacated in 2016.
The judges in the ICC case had in 2016 ruled that the DP and his co-accused had no case to answer.
However, they left the door open for possible fresh charges in future if sufficient evidence is tabled, noting that the case had been hampered by political interference and threats against witnesses.
Gicheru faces a five-year jail term or a fine in accordance with the court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, or both if found guilty of committing crimes against administration of justice.