Illegible witness statements stall Sonko case

Defence lawyers in the Sh357 million graft case against Governor Mike Sonko and others have complained to the trial court that they have been supplied with illegible witness statements by the prosecution.

The lawyers told the court that the prosecution has not satisfactorily complied with the orders of the court to furnish proper evidence.

They urged the court to terminate the case against the governor because there is no proper evidence.

"Your honour the witness statements given to us are illegible. We cannot make out a proper defence for our clients given the current status of the documents," lawyer Jack Bigambo told the trial magistrate Douglas Ogot via a virtual presentation. 

Other defence lawyers Cecil Miller and George Kithi Sonko also said they have experienced similar challenges over the illegibility of documents. 

The magistrate directed all the parties in the case to appear in court on August 26, 2020 to explain whether all the documents have been verified.

The prosecution maintained that they have complied with the orders of the court and they have supplied proper evidence to the accused.

Mr Ogoti had ordered the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to number over 10,000 copies of the evidence he intends to give in court in the graft case against Mr Sonko.

“Even the prosecutors themselves find difficulties in locating particular exhibits in the bundle of documents given to the court and the accused,” Mr Ogoti said while commenting about the documents.

The magistrate directed the case be mentioned for pre-trial on August 26 and directed the DPP to give a new set of evidence.

The governor faced 19 charges in two separate files, with the prosecution claiming that he conspired with business people and senior county government officials to embezzle more than Sh300 million from the county coffers.

The charges against him ranged from conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, conflict of interest to money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

“Between May 24, 2018 and March 28, 2019 in Nairobi City County, being the governor, you jointly conspired with the co-accused to commit an offence of corruption namely embezzlement of public funds in the sum of Sh357,390,229 from Nairobi City County government,” read the charge sheet.

In the second file, the governor alongside others were accused of embezzling Sh24.1 million through a contract for an electronic revenue collection and payment solutions.

All the suspects are out on bond.


This article was first published by the Daily Nation