Nairobi — Lawyers representing ex-Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero in a Sh213 million graft case have accused Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji of jeopardizing the case by sending out tweets through an institutional account on the ongoing proceedings.
The lawyers told Milimani Magistrate Douglas Ogot on Wednesday the tweets by DPP were ill-intended and aimed at influencing the outcome of the trial.
Lawyers Paul Angarwa, Philiph Nyachoti, Willie Otieno and Nelson Havi took issue with 296 responses they said had emanated from tweets by Haji's office.
"DPP has opened" Baraza Online" in which he discusses Kidero and his co-accused on a daily basis which move goes to undermine the dignity of the court," the lawyers said.
They accused the DPP of publishing exhibits that are subject of court proceedings.
The lawyers said the tweets were coordinated in that they were dispatched between 6pm to 10 pm after hearings are concluded, actions they termed prejudicial to ongoing trial.
Nyachoti submitted that the office of DPP is public office which should have dignity in handling both anti-graft and criminal cases.
He said that accused persons have already been convicted before completion of trial.
"All accused must be given fair trial and not being exposed to the public court," he said. The lawyers asked the court to order Haji's office to stop dispatching "offensive" tweets.
"The DPP has violated the Constitution which calls for this court to bar him completely from openly discussing any proceedings with members of the public," the court heard.
The defense told the court Haji's office had sent out over 200 tweets inciting the public against the former Nairobi Governor.
Prosecution counsel Joseph Irungu undertook to ensure the proceedings of the court do not get leaked to the public.
He said that the matter is being prosecuted professionally and with the dignity it deserves.
Magistrate Ogot adjourn the hearing to Thursday when he will deliver a ruling on the concerns raised by Kidero's lawyers.
Kidero was been charged together with eight former chief officers in his administration over the alleged loss of Sh213 million.
Others charged alongside Kidero are former County Secretary Lilian Ndegwa, former Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba, former County Executive Committee Member in Charge of Finance and Planning Gregory Mwakanongo, former Accounting Head Stephen Ogago Osiro, former Acting Chief Finance Officer Luke Mugo and former Acting Head of Treasury Maurice Ochieng Okere.
They have denied a total of 35 counts of corruption and economic crimes including charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, abuse of office, fraudulent acquisition of public property, dealing with suspect property, and unlawful failure to pay tax to a public body.
The money in question was paid to Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd.
Traders charged are John Githua and Grace Njeri of Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd, respectively.
The charges against them stated that they conspired to commit fraud which led to the loss of Sh213,327,300 at the County Government between January 16, 2014 and January 25, 2016.