Kenya: Kiambu Ward Reps Save Waititu's Day With Senate

21 January 2020

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu's troubles deepened Monday after a magistrate's court declined to postpone the graft trial against him to allow him to attend Senate proceedings today.

Issuing his ruling, Magistrate Thomas Nzioki faulted the governor for failing to table evidence before the court indicating that indeed the Senate had summoned him to appear before it.

"The request sought by the governor fails as he has not substantially proved the matter," he said.

But the magistrate set the hearing of the case for February 6 to await the determination of a lawsuit by Kiambu MCAs seeking to be enjoined in the criminal proceedings.

The new hearing date for the graft matter means Mr Waititu can appear before the Senate as scheduled.

The court had initially declined to allow MCAs to participate in the trial, saying the interests of the assembly will be well catered for by prosecutors.

ASSET RECOVERY

The magistrate said it would be inappropriate to have the trial proceedings continue while the matter is before the High Court.

Mr Waititu's fate lies in the hands of the Senate after MCAs impeached him last December.

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka recalled senators from their recess for a special sitting to discuss Mr Waititu's impeachment through a special Kenya Gazette notice published on January 10.

The governor was dealt yet another blow when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) applied to recover about Sh25 million he allegedly received as kickback for influencing the awarding of a tender for upgrading roads in Kiambu.

In documents filed in the High Court on Monday, EACC further seeks to recover Sh147,274,055 from Testimony Enterprises Ltd, money believed to be proceeds of economic crime.

LAWS BREACHED

The agency said the contract was awarded to the company in breach of procurement laws.

It is alleged that Mr Waititu received Sh25,640,500 for ensuring the firm got the contract.

Mr Waititu, his wife Susan Wangari and some officials in his administration were charged last year with graft-related offences.

They are out on bond but the court barred Mr Waititu from accessing his office.

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