THE ICC judges handling the case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang yesterday warned a witness against lying. Presiding judge Chile Eboe-Osuji told Witness 326 that he risks prosecution if he is found to have intentionally lied to the court.
"It is an offence to intentionally lie to the court, but human errors are not punishable. Perjury charges can only be taken against witness for intentional lying, not on human errors," the judge said.
Ruto's lead lawyer Karim Khan poked holes into the witness' testimony in an attempt to show that he had lied. Khan confronted the witness over his testimony that Ruto had been given Sh300,000 from the ODM account on January 3 to fund violence.
"You are deliberately fabricating that evidence and you have been fabricating that evidence since the first time you met the prosecution," Khan told the witness.
The witness insisted that Ruto got the money even after being shown bank statements showing that no such amount of money had been withdrawn from ODM accounts during that period.
Khan produced an affidavit by the then ODM treasurer Omingo Magara indicating that party rules did not allow for advancement of cash to any individual and Ruto had not received such money.
The witness had also claimed that ODM held its last campaign rally at Uhuru Park even though records in the media and the party secretariat showed that the event was at Nyayo Stadium.
Khan also confronted the witness over his assertions that Ruto had addressed a rally in Kitale and that he had said that it was time for "hyenas" to return grabbed land.
Khan used news clips to show that only Raila addressed the rally and also dismissed the witness' claim that there were about one million people in attendance.
"I am putting to you that you have put forward a concocted and false account that you have presented as the truth. Can I say you hibernated after five years and conned your way to The Hague and you continue to lie for financial gain?" Khan said.
But the witness said:"All my account is from what I have heard and have been told and to the best of my knowledge that is what happened." Khan also questioned the witness over his claims that Ruto had addressed a press conference, covered by Radio Maisha, asking people not to fight alone. "Do you know that Radio Maisha was not even in existence as earlier indicated during the said time?" Khan said.
The witness said he was wrong to include Radio Maisha in the list of media houses present at the ODM press briefing. He told the court that he had not attended the press conference after he was confronted with a video showing other members of the ODM pentagon.
Later, Witness 326 told Sang's lawyer Katwa Kigen that his client never attended any meeting as a member of ODM but could have attended as part of the media.
Kigen also played the witness an audio recording to show that Sang was in the studio on the said day and not attending an ODM meeting as he had alleged.