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CHIEF JUSTICE KOOME APPOINTS BENCH TO DETERMINE SONKO’S APPEAL AS ELECTION DATE TICKS CLOSER.

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Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who is also Wiper Party Mombasa gubernatorial at Supreme Court building on Wednesday June 29,2022.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Chief Justice Martha Koome has appointed three judges to hear an appeal filed Mombasa gubernatorial candidate Mike Sonko.

Sonko filed the appeal after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dispute resolution committee barred him from contesting the August 9 polls, saying he was not eligible to hold public office because he was impeached.

The committee led by the chairman Wambua Kilozno gave his party- Wiper a chance to replace Sonko with another candidate.

Speaking at the Supreme Court building, Sonko thanked the CJ’s office for expediting the matter by appointing the bench.

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko speaking outside Supreme Court building after he was informed the bench has been appointed to hear his appeal

“My compliments to the CJ’s office for acting expeditiously in empaneling another three judge bench to hear my appeal against the IEBC dispute resolution committee in upholding the Mombasa County IEBC returning officer’s decision,” said Sonko.

The former Nairobi county boss vowed not to give up in his quest to get justice. 

The case was certified as urgent by High Court judge Olga Sewe who forwarded the file to Chief Justice to empanel a bench to determine the appeal.

“I’m of the considered view of empaneling the bench by the Chief Justice. This file should therefore be transmitted to the Chief Justice for the empaneling of the bench,” judge Sewe ruled.

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko with his lawyer Dr John Khaminwa outside the court building on Wednesday June 29,2022.

Sonko has maintained that although his impeachment in 2019 was upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal, he has filed a third appeal, which is pending hearing at the Supreme Court.

He was nominated by the Wiper Party as its candidate for the Mombasa County Gubernatorial candidate but the electoral body chairman Wafula Chebukati had issued a media statement saying he (Sonko) was disqualified from contesting.

He presented his papers before Mombasa Returning Officer Swalha Ibrahim Yusuf at 2:30 pm as per IEBC checklist.

DCI BOSS ASKED TO PRODUCE COHEN’S WILL AS SISTER CLAIMS FORGERY.

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Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The Director of Criminal Investigation George Kinoti has been ordered to produce the original will of the late Tob Cohen in a succession case.

Trial judge Mugure Thande gave the directive following an application by the family late Cohen during the hearing of a succession case.

Lawyer Danstan Omari said the will provided by the DCI boss will enable Cohen’s sister Gabrielle Hannah van Straten to point out the difference, if any, with the one presented by Tob’s widow Sarah Wairimu Kimotho.

She told the court during cross examination that Wairimu was assisted by her defense lawyer Philip Murgor to forge Tob’s will.

The witness told the court that she reported the matter to the police and Murgor was supposed to be arrested and charged but the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji declined to consent to the charge.

She subsequently filed a petition seeking the removal of the DPP from office.

Gabrielle testified that it is the only original will that will assist the court to make an informed decision.

Cohen’s body was found in a septic tank in his compound three years ago. His wife Sarah and Peter Karanja have been charged with his murder are out on bond.

LAWYER OMARI PROTEST CALLS BY LSK PRESIDENT IN CHARGE SHEET ROW.

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Lawyer Danstan Omari addressing press at Milimani Law Building./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

City lawyer has protested against calls by the Law Society of Kenya President to disregard the ruling.

Lawyer Danstan Omari said it was misleading for the LSK President Eric Theuri to advise lawyers to disregard the Court of Appeal ruling, which handed back the police and other investigative agencies the power to draft and present charge sheets before court.

DCI and Attorney general successfully applied for the suspension of a decision that had blocked police officers from drafting charge sheets.

Omari said in a letter dated June 27, 2022 that the statement was made with the sole purpose of misconceiving the directions of the court and aimed at misleading advocates practicing in the criminal justice system.

He further stated that it is a contemptuous mockery on the authority of the Court of Appeal for the LSK president to publish a statement whereas it advises officers to look down, disregard and object to the directives of the court.

“We beseech the LSK to seek legal redress through the appropriate channels and in obedience to constitutionalism and submit to hierarchy of courts seeing that it is the court that has the final say in determination of issues,” he said.

He further directed LSK president to cease and desist from advising members to act contemptuous to orders of the court of appeal or he steps down from the position to allow another officer, who is willing to uphold constitutionalism, to take over.

He said that LSK do not have the mandate nor capacity of issuing directives to counter the independence of the DCI or the Judiciary and if LSK had an objective interest as claimed, they ought to have made a formal application to be enjoined as interested parties in the Court of Appeal matter.

“As much, their issues will be heard and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. It is convincing that there lacks objectivity in the position taken by the LSK since the LSK sits in the advisory board of the ODPP,” he added

MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER DENIES STEALING MILLIONS SALE PROCEEDS.

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Newton Kimathi Kirimi before a Nairobi Court where he denied obtaining money and issuing a bad cheque./PHOTO BY IRENE ONYANGO.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

A 32-year-old car dealer has been charged with several counts including obtaining millions by false pretense and stealing by agent.

Newton Kimathi Kirimi allegedly stole Sh1.8 million from Francis Kamau Kuria by falsely pretending he was in position to sell him a Honda Fit and Toyota Probox.

The court heard that he committed the offense on diverse dates between November 8, 2021 and January 6 this year at Newtown’s Auto ltd on Jabavu lane Kilimani sub-county, in Nairobi County

The court heard that on April 17 this year at Jabavu lane in Kilimani within Nairobi County Kimathi being an agent of Crystal Wawira Njoka, he allegedly stole Sh2,350,000 being the proceeds of the sale of a motor vehicle, which had been entrusted to him disposition.

He was also charged with issuing a bad cheque of Sh600,000.

He appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi and denied the charges, who released him on a cash bail of Sh300,000 or alternative bond of Sh500,000 pending hearing of the case.

COURT FREEZES SH2.3 BILLION FROM KIWIPAY FIRM SUSPECTED TO BE MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME.

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High Court Anti-Corruption Division Judge Esther Maina./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

A firm has been stopped from accessing over Sh2 billion in it’s bank account.

Lady Justice Esther Maina froze the Sh2.3 billion held in two accounts at Eco Bank belonging to KiwiPay Kenya Ltd, an online payment platform.

The firm was registered in the country two years ago, and will be required to defend the source of the funds.

The high Court granted the orders in an application filed by Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) which claims it is a proceed of crime.

ARA told court that the money maybe part of an international syndicate involving debit card related fraud.

The company’s directors have been stopped from withdrawing or transferring the funds for a period of 90 days as ARA continues with the probe as to the source of the money.

“It is hereby ordered that preservation orders be and are hereby issued prohibiting the Respondent(Kiwipay) or its representatives, employees, agents, servant or any other persons acting on its behalf from transacting, withdrawing, transferring or dealing in any manner however in respect of funds held in the following account USD 18,381,118.9 and USD 1,100,000 held in two account at Eco Bank Kenya Ltd in the name of Kiwipay Kenya ltd”, directed Judge Maina.

The Judge said the orders shall subsist for a period of 90 days as provided in section 84 of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act. 

This is after Assets Recovery Agency filed an application seeking to preserve the said billions pending forfeiture application. If the company fails to prove the source of the billions beyond reasonable doubts, the money will be forfeited to the Kenya Government.

ARA urged the court saying there was imminent risk that the funds might be transfered to other destinations if the court does not issue the orders sought. 

“That there is imminent risk that the funds held in the specified bank accounts in the sum of USD 19,481,118.9 may be withdrawn, transferred and or dissipated if the preservation orders are not granted and this would greatly prejudice the ongoing investigations into money laundering and the tracing, identification and recovery of proceeds of crime,” the agency said.

The billions in six bank accounts in Equity Bank and UBA Bank were frozen by the High Court after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) applied to block the transfer or removal of the funds, pending the filing of a petition to forfeit the money to the government.

The ARA says in the latest petition that KiwiPay was registered in June 2020 and the millions were wired to two bank accounts at Eco Bank. Both accounts hold a total of US $19.48 million, which the agency suspects to be proceeds of crime.

The money was initially frozen by a magistrate court in May for a 45 days but the owners pleaded with the court and were allowed to withdraw Sh15 million on June 7. The agency moved to the High Court pointing out that the freeze order was due to expire on June 27.

The agency says it suspects that the company is involved in money laundering scheme, sent from foreign countries.

ARA investigating officer Sautet Jeremiah told the Anti-Corruption court that Kiwipay Kenya ltd is suspected to be part of transnational syndicate involved in complex money laundering schemes with operations in multiple foreign jurisdictions.

The court heard that the preliminary investigations has revealed that the company is not licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya to operate the business they are engaged under the provisions of the National Payment System Act, Act No. 39 of 2011.

“There are reasonable grounds to suspect that the funds held into two bank accounts at EcoBank Kenya Ltd in the name of the respondent (Kiwipay Kenya ltd) are illicit funds in which the respondent is involved in a money laundering scheme designed to conceal, disguise the nature ,source location and movement of funds”, Sautet told the court.

In the court documents, ARA adds that preliminary analysis and investigations of the documents received from Eco Bank Kenya has revealed that the respondent’s financial transactions have been queried by VISA on suspicion that the funds received in it’s accounts might be as a result of illegal gambling activities or card fraud.

DEALER CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF SH25 MILLION LAND IN MAVOKO.

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Joseph Njue Johana before Milimani Chief Magistrate court where he pleaded not guilty./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

A land agent has been charged with illegal possession of a parcel of land in Mavoko Town valued Sh25 million.

Joseph Njue Johana was charged with taking actual possession of the land in Mavoko Town block 12/701 measuring about 2 hectares belonging to Flora Tumbo.

The charges stated that he took possession of the land on diverse dates between August 5, 2018 and June 23, 2022 at Katani area, Mavoko sub-county within Machakos county jointly with others not before court.

It is alleged that his intention was to cause a breach of peace but his lawyer told the court that Njue was just an agent and he doesn’t own the land.

The court heard that Njue has a pending case before Environmental and Land court, where he has been sued. The lawyer further said Njue was summoned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on Kiambu Road on Friday, where he was detained.

The court ordered that he be released after posting a cash bail of Sh300,000.

MANDERA COUNTY GOVERNMENT NOW ALLOWED TO ACCESS FROZEN ACCOUNTS.

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Mandera Governor Ali Roba./COURTESY PHOTO.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Mandera county government can now access its bank accounts after the Court of Appeal lifted an order barring the devolved unit from using the funds.

Appellate court judges Daniel Musinga, Fatuma Sichale and Agnes Murgor suspended the high court orders, pending the determination of an appeal lodged by the Governor Ali Roba administration.

“The conservatory orders granted in the ruling dated May 19, 2022 and the proceedings in Constitutional Petition No. E002 of 2022 are stayed pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,” ruled the judges.

The judges noted that the orders remaining in force would mean that the funds might be returned to the Treasury denying the residents services, paying employees and suppliers and in the process subject the people to hardship.

“Given these premises, in our view, providence demands that the conservatory orders be stayed in the interest of the public,” the judges said.

The High Court had issued orders restraining Mandera County Government from withdrawing, transacting, operating or in any way dealing with monies held in the county’s bank accounts.

The order meant that the county would not use the money for recurrent or development, as the Supplementary Budget estimates passed on February 14, 2022.

Ismail Abdullahi Abdirahman, a resident of Mandera had challenged the use of funds saying the Supplementary Budget did not conform to Articles 10, 201 and 207 of the Constitution.

He said the principles of public finance of openness, accountability and the national values and principle of transparency were not complied with, when passing and approving the budget.

The resident claimed that the county government had made provision for several projects, which were a preserve of the national government.

He cited the renovation and painting of five classrooms at Dikduro Primary School at a cost of Sh 2.5 million, the development of a playground at Dololo Primary School at Sh 2 million, the construction of playground at Kubi Hill Primary at Sh400,000 and an ECD classroom and twin toilets at Ayan Primary in Takaba South at Sh1.5 million.

“That the unilateral allocation of funding for projects that are the preserve of the National Government pursuant to Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Kenya rendered the applicants’ actions a violation of the constitutional dictates on the relationship and cooperation between National and County Government,” he said.

Governor Roba said the county government would be unable to pay employees’ salaries and wages of over 3900 employees for the three months of the next financial year.

He also said the supply of medical drugs to health facilities and provision of emergency water to drought affected sub-counties will be interrupted and while granting the conservatory orders, the judge did not take into account the interests of or the extreme prejudice and disruption to the residents and the County Government.

Roba further argued also complained that the judge failed to appreciate that the requirement of public participation in approving the budget estimates was adhered to as the public and residents of the seven sub- counties were afforded an opportunity to make contributions to the budgetary estimates, the development estimates and recurrent expenditure which the County Treasury took into consideration.

IEBC DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITTEE NULLIFIES JUBILEE CANDIDATE FOR RONGO CONSTITUENCY.

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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dispute resolution committee chairman Wambua Kilonzo./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dispute resolution committee has nullified the nomination of Nelson Onyango as the Jubilee Party candidate for Rongo constituency.

The committee presided by Wambua Kilonzo and Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’ya as members, revoked the clearance of Onyango as the party’s candidate because he joined Jubilee outside time limits.

“We take the view that the Aspirant ceased from being a member of Jubilee Party after the deadline for submission of membership lists to IEBC and as such his nomination thereafter by the Jubilee party was outside the statutory timelines,” the committee ruled.

The committee absolved the party saying it had established that he had no way of establishing the truth beyond that which was presented before it. “He is a victim of the deceitfulness by the Aspirant,” added committee.

Nicholas Mbago filed a complaint seeking revoke the clearance certificate issued to Onyango by the Party to contest the forthcoming elections.

“This Committee prohibits the IEBC from gazetting the name of the 1st Respondent as the Jubilee Party Candidate or an independent candidate and declarethe clearance of the 1st Respondent as null and void,” he urged.

He alleged that the nomination of Onyango was improper due to the fact that, at the time of his clearance by IEBC and the Returning officer to vie for the Rongo Constituency, he was registered as an Independent Candidate and not as a Jubilee Party aspirant as he purported to be.

The Complainant further avers that by clearing Onyango, the party disregarded the election timelines as gazetted, which required all political parties to submit the party’s list 120 days to the General election.

He said the registration of Onyango as a Jubilee Party member as of 31st May, 2022, was contrary to the 120-day timeline and he thus should not have been cleared by the party.

Onyango opposed the application arguing that the complainant is simply engaged in forum shopping since a similar petition had been filed before the High Court in Migori.

He submitted that the multiplicity of suits is likely to present a problem if the Court and the Committee arrive at conflicting decisions. He however conceded that the Committee has jurisdiction to hear the complaint.

ANOTHER THREE JUDGE BENCH TO HEAR SONKO’S APPEAL AGAINST IEBC’S DECISION TO BAR HIM FROM CONTESTING.

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Chief Justice Martha Koome who will appoint another bench to hear former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko appeal.

BY SAM ALFAN.

A petition by Mombasa Gubernatorial candidate Mike Sonko challenging the move to bar him from contesting in the August 9 elections will be heard by a bench of three judges.

This was after High Court judge Olga Sewe certified the case as urgent and forwarded the file to Chief Justice Martha Koome for appointment of a bench to hear the appeal.

“I’m of the considered view of empanelling the bench by the Chief Justice. This file should therefore be transmitted to the Chief Justice for the empanelling of the bench,” ruled Olga.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission dispute resolution committee barred Sonko from contesting on grounds that he was impeached and hence not eligible to hold public office.

However, Sonko says he challenged the impeachment decision and hearing is pending before the Supreme Court.

Sonko wants high court to temporarily bar the electoral body from publishing names of candidates seeking to contest the Mombasa county gubernatorial seat, pending the determination of the application.

The former city boss also wants the court to compel IEBC to furnish court with copies of the degree certificates as submitted to the county Returning Officer.

Sonko told the court that he was nominated by the Wiper Party as its candidate for the Mombasa County Gubernatorial candidate seat in the coming general election.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had issued a media statement purporting that Sonko was disqualified from contesting for the seat of Mombasa Governor

He presented his papers before Mombasa Returning Officer Swalha Ibrahim Yusuf at 2:30 pm as per IEBC checklist.

BUSINESSMAN JARED OTIENO AND OTHERS DENIES FRESH SH300 MILLION GOLD FRAUD CHARGES.

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Businessman Jared Otieno and Philip Nashon Ng'ru Aroko before Milimani chief Magistrate court where they pleaded not guilty to obtaining 300 million from a Chinese businessman on Tuesday May 21,2019./PHOTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Flashy businessman cum politician Jared Kiasa Otieno has been charged afresh with fraudulently obtaining Sh300 million in a fake gold scam.

Otieno alias Jonathan Tololwa was charged alongside Philip Nashon Ng’uru Aroko alias Benson Mutola, Ricky Thomas Ochieng alias Tom Okoth, Dillon Kibet  and Paul-ine Adhiambo Odok alias Rose Adhiambo Omamo.

The charges stated that they conspired to defraud Simuong Group Company from Lao of Sh300 million by means of fraudulent tricks.

It is alleged that they displayed heavy steel boxes allegedly marked with genuine foreign currencies between February 8 and 28, 2019 in Nairobi County, an offence they jointly with others not before court.

The court heard that they claimed they owned a company office trading as Nirone Safe Keeping ltd, claiming that they were engaged in a genuine foreign currency business.

Otieno, Aroko and Odok were further accused that between February 7 and 28 in the year 2019, they obtained Sh300 million from Simuong Group company ltd of US $2 million as a loan for payment within a month.

They allegedly presented themselves as Jonathan Tololwa, Benson Mutola and Rose Adhiambo Omamo, with intent to defraud.

The three were also charged with obtaining Sh100 million from the same company with intent to defraud. The money was purported to be as security to offer a loan, a fact they knew to be false.

Sixteen other persons denied charges of preparation to commit a felony when they appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo.

The charges stated that they were found in a building designed as the office of Nirone Safe Keeping ltd with intent to commit a crime, an offence they allegedly committed on May 13, 2019 at Kaputei gardens plot No.12 in Kileleshwa in Nairobi County.