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Ruto acquitted in Sh43m fraud case

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Rutashubanyuma, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    Ruto acquitted in Sh43m fraud case

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    By PAUL OGEMBA pogemba@ke.nationmedia.com
    Posted Tuesday, April 12 2011 at 22:00

    In Summary

    • Debate now likely to shift to whether the Eldoret North MP, suspected by the ICC of crimes against humanity during poll chaos, will get back his Cabinet job
    Eldoret North MP William Ruto was on Tuesday acquitted of Sh43 million land fraud charges for lack of evidence. His co-accused, Mr Joshua Kulei and Mr Sammy Mwaita, were also set free.

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    They were charged with fraudulently obtaining Sh272 million from the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) by selling it plots in the Ngong Forest.

    Mr Kulei had been charged with stealing Sh58 million, while Mr Mwaita was accused of abuse of office. In his ruling, Nairobi chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei said the prosecution had failed to prove that the three received the money from KPC.

    "The contention of selling land without being procedurally excised from Ngong Forest was the basis of drafting the charges. The letter to hive off the forest land was signed by the then Forestry minister and 33 parcels of land allocated to various companies and the consent to hive off part of the forest were obtained from the Commissioner of Lands....

    "The prosecution failed to produce in court the then Finance Manager Hellen Njue to give her evidence on how she paid out the money. It is, therefore, clear that none of the accused ever received any money from KPC. The prosecution has failed to prove its case thus all the accused persons have no case to answer," the magistrate said.

    After the ruling, Mr Ruto said he was glad to be discharged of fabricated charges. The magistrate's decision to set him free, he said, has given him faith that he would also be cleared of charges levelled against him at the International Criminal Court.

    Mr Ruto was first charged in 2004 together with four others with defrauding KPC of more than Sh272 million over a plot excised from Ngong Forest, but he never took a plea.

    The Eldoret North MP was alleged to have received Sh96 million at intervals during the alleged transaction.

    He moved to the High Court seeking the dismissal of the criminal case on grounds that his rights were being violated.

    The case stalled at the magistrate's court until October 15, 2010, when a Constitutional Court rejected his plea and ordered that he faces trial.
    Four days after the ruling, he was suspended from the Cabinet.

    The political debate has now shifted to whether he should get his job back. His party ODM, with which he has fallen out, and particularly the party leader, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, will possibly have a say as to whether he gets reinstated.

    On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and Nominated MP George Nyamweya asked for his immediate reinstatement.

    "He should resume immediately because he has been acquitted. He should in fact resume his office today because he is a capable minister," Mr Balala said, arguing that the President does not need to consult his coalition partner, since the reinstatement is "automatic".

    But Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch argued that Mr Ruto should not get his job back because he faces other charges.

    "The acquittal will not clear the way for his reinstatement. The government still has a chance to appeal on grounds of hostile witnesses. Ruto still has cases in Eldoret," he said.

    ODM chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo said the party should allow reinstatement.
     
  2. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    1. Submitted by dontialala
      Posted April 13, 2011 09:57 AM
      How could the rposecusion fail to produce The prosecution failed to produce in court the then Finance Manager Hellen Njue to give her evidence are you telling me one can nowadays actually say i will not appear and tha court just ignores it!!!! NAshanga sana tena sana

    2. Submitted by xhievray
      Posted April 13, 2011 09:54 AM
      @aloisemuchemi there is justice in kenya i tell you, but only if you can afford it, with few shillings you can get away with anything, and the judges will be there to deliver the judgement for all of us to know who is the biggest buyer in the country.

    3. Submitted by davemor
      Posted April 13, 2011 09:54 AM
      Finance Manager Hellen Njue should be the next in court and explain to whom she gave taxpayers money.Why had the prosecutor left her out of the proceedings if she was the officer who paid out the money.Couldn't the judge query this and ask the prosecution to produce her or issue a warant of arrest for her to come and testify? Some thing is not right here. What has become of our justice system. Is it that these judges are shameless or didn't go to school.Do not insult our intelligence.

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  3. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    Is it a quick return to the Cabinet for William Ruto?

    By MACHARIA GAITHO
    Posted Tuesday, April 12 2011 at 22:00

    Mr William Ruto might be looking forward to a quick return to the Cabinet.

    Following his acquittal in the Sh270 million Kenya Pipeline Company-Ngong Forest fraud case, the suspended Higher Education Minister might be confident that President Kibaki will be eager to reinstate him so that the political war against Prime Minister Raila Odinga can be accelerated from the inner sanctum.

    Immediately after Tuesday's ruling, Mr Ruto was quick to crow that he had been vindicated in his protestation that the whole case was based on political persecution.

    In fact, he added, the judgement reinforces his faith that he will come out clean in another major case hanging over his head - the International Criminal Court accusations of crimes against humanity from Kenya's bout of post-election violence.

    The judgement by chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei clearing Mr Ruto and his co-accused, retired president Moi's former personal assistant Joshua Kulei and Baringo Central MP and former Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita, is likely to be keenly perused for evidence of suspicious shortcomings by either the court or the prosecution.

    Mr Ruto is celebrating a double victory in a matter of days after returning from The Hague and somehow proclaiming victory after the mere formality of an initial appearance.

    No doubt he will be looking to parlay the magistrate's ruling to political advantage, and a quick recall to Cabinet would be a powerful endorsement.

    But the President does not have a free hand in the re-appointment because Mr Ruto is from the ODM wing of the coalition and was, therefore, Mr Odinga's nominee.

    The coalition agreement, which is embedded in the law, provides that while the President may make the formal appointment to the Cabinet and senior offices, he must consult the Prime Minister.

    It therefore follows that President Kibaki cannot reinstate Mr Ruto without Mr Odinga's consent.

    Chances are that Mr Odinga will not want to bring back to the government a politician who has waged unrelenting warfare against him. If anything, he might prefer to give the vacant slot to someone else.

    But then that might also present complications because the coalition agreement is rather vague on whether either of the partners is free to drop a minister from his side of the coalition without seeking the other's consent.

    The situation now can provide President Kibaki with room for a bit of mischief. He could reinstate Mr Ruto on the strength of the acquittal and then wait for Mr Odinga to protest furiously and further alienate himself from an already aggrieved constituency.

    But even if President Kibaki were inclined to bring back Mr Ruto - and that is the advice he would get from the latter's Ocampo Six co-accused and co-leader in the anti-Raila alliance, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta - he would still have to consider The Hague case.

    Mr Ruto has been out of the Cabinet since last October when he lost a constitutional case seeking to have the fraud case that had been stuck in the court corridors for years thrown out.

    He never voluntarily stepped aside, but left after a curious statement in which President Kibaki, following consultations with the Prime Minister, ‘stood aside Hon William Ruto' pending conclusion of the case.
     
  4. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    1. Submitted by Coucal
      Posted April 13, 2011 10:03 AM
      The appointing authority will decide and no surprise if there is a reshuffle to accommodate Ruto. As for Kenyans , we are too fatigued with the whole batch of politicians and if we could speed up time , we would have '12 and the debe tomorrow.

    2. Submitted by NDEBELE
      Posted April 13, 2011 09:27 AM
      Ruto is no longer loyal to ODM. It is even now no-longer a secret that he will ditch ODM and join/form another party. Under those circumstances, ODM will not recommend him for a cabinet position.

    3. Submitted by kamjanjas
      Posted April 13, 2011 08:59 AM
      those who followed the case knew that the judgement was obvious.how can u take someone in court without any tangible evidence u accuse someone of receiving money illegally yet u fail to prove how he received the money or who paid him the money.

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  5. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    Police, AG trade blame over acquittal of Ruto

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    PAUL WAWERU| NATION Eldoret North MP William Ruto (left) and lawyer Martin ole Kamwaro leave court before the acquittal.

    By WALTER MENYA, wmenya@ke.nationmedia.com AND BERNARD NAMUNANE, bnamunane@ke.nationmedia.com
    Posted Wednesday, April 13 2011 at 21:04

    Questions are being raised about the prosecution of the fraud case against suspended Cabinet minister William Ruto. The police and the State Law Office, the government's prosecution arm, traded accusations Wednesday over who was responsible for losing the case.

    Of the witnesses that the prosecution had lined up, 13 could not be found and five died while the case was going on. Those who made it to the court became hostile to the prosecution, according to Chief Public Prosecutor Keriako Tobiko.

    Both Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere and Mr Tobiko sought to clear their officers from any blame in the case that also saw Mr Joshua Kulei and Mr Sammy Mwaita set free.

    Nairobi chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei acquitted the three on Tuesday. They had been charged with fraudulently obtaining Sh272 million from Kenya Pipeline Corporation by selling it plots in Ngong Forest.

    The ruling appeared to blame the CID wing of police for failure to investigate and providing the evidence.

    "The contention of selling land without being procedurally excised from Ngong Forest was the basis of drafting the charges. The then Forestry minister signed the letter to hive off the forest land and 33 parcels were allocated to various firms. Consent to hive off part of the forest was obtained from the Lands commissioner.

    "The prosecution failed to produce in court the then Finance Manager Hellen Njue to give her evidence on how she paid out the money. It is, therefore, clear that none of the accused ever received any money from KPC. The prosecution has failed to prove its case thus all the accused persons have no case to answer," Mr Mutembei ruled.
    Mr Iteere was categorical that CID officers carried out proper investigations, arguing, any blame for the acquittal should go to other offices.
    "I believe we played our role well and the rest was left to the other players," he said in Nairobi on the sidelines of a regional seminar on small arms and light weapons.
    "You have to understand what the criminal justice system procedure really entails. It involves investigations, prosecution, the court process itself and finally the custody in prison," he said.
    The State Law Office rejected the police stance, with Mr Tobiko accusing police of conducting shoddy investigations and failing to produce witnesses.
    "It is grossly unfair for the Police Commissioner to apportion blame when he knows the duty to conduct investigations, provide statements and produce witnesses in court lies with the police. I really don't understand what he is talking about.

    "The police said 13 key witnesses could not be traced. Five other key witnesses had died, which brings to 18 the number of witnesses who were not produced in court. The prosecuting counsel could not do anything," Mr Tobiko said on phone.

    He also questioned the manner in which statements were recorded.

    "The case was investigated by the police and not the Attorney General's Chambers. They are the ones who recorded statements and gathered exhibits, a duty they have to do correctly. But a number of witnesses disowned the statements and turned hostile to the prosecution, showing that the police failed in their task," he argued.

    Mr Tobiko said the State Law Office was becoming a whipping boy: "It has become a norm in Kenya to lay the blame at the AG's office whenever suspects are acquitted, when the blame should ideally lie elsewhere."

    Police have a poor record of investigating and cracking high-profile cases. Nearly a year after the Uhuru Park blasts, in which six people died, police are yet to crack the case. The government also lost the criminal case against Constable Edward Kirui accused of killing two people in Kisumu during the post-election riots.

    In 2009, five people were freed for lack of evidence over the Kiambaa massacre in Eldoret where 35 people were burnt to death in a church on December 31, 2007.
     
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