21 November 2012

Kenya: Former PS Pleads to Be Released On Bail Pending Appeal

FORMER Tourism PS Rebecca Nabutola yesterday faulted her conviction and sentencing saying it was full of illegalities.

Arguing before the High Court for her release on bail pending appeal, Nabutola also faulted the trial magistrate for not explaining to her and her co-accusedtheir rights to recall witnesses when the case was taken over by a new magistrate.

The case was initially handled by Cecilia Githua but she was promoted to be a judge before she dealt with the matter. It was taken over by Lucy Nyambura who found Nabutola, former Kenya Tourism Board chairman Achieng Ong'ong'a and businessman Duncan Muriuki guilty of several counts and sentenced them to jail terms of between three and seven years.

But yesterday, Nabutola through her lawyer Betty Mwenesi, said her appeal had an overwhelming chance of success. She said the appeal might be rendered useless if she serves the sentence or substantial part of her term by the time the appeal is heard only for it to be quashed.

The lawyer also said that the trial magistrate should also have computed the sentence into a fine. Dr Ong'ong'a also said his conviction and sentencing was improper as there was evidence that services were rendered and payments made.

He said he explained to court how the money was spent but the magistrate chose to ignore the evidence. Muriuki termed the seven-year sentence as harsh, irregular and unlawful.

Through his lawyer Wilfred Nderitu, the tour operator said that the same magistrate- who has now been made a judge- had one week earlier sentenced fined a former PS Sylvester Mwaliko Sh3 million for a more serious offence related to Anglo Leasing scandal. He dismissed allegations by the Director of Public Prosecutions that he was a flight risk if released on bail.

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