Lari Member of Parliament, Joseph Mburu Kahangara with his lawyer Lawyer Nicholas Njagi leaving Milimani law courts accompanied by his supporters after he was acquitted of a charge of traffic offences on Wednesday November 11,2015.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Lari Member of Parliament Joseph Mburu Kahangara is a free man after he was acquitted of a charge of traffic offences.
He was released on the grounds “of inconsistencies in testimonies of prosecution witnesses”.
Mburu was accused of obstruction, overtaking, driving a motor vehicle without a licence, overlapping and failure to obey lawful instructions issued by a uniformed traffic police officer. He was driving his personal four-wheel drive vehicle during the altercation with the police along Murang’a Road in Nairobi.
The politician denied the charges and the plea court senior Principal Magistrate Dolphin Okundi directed him to post Sh100, 000 cash bail to secure his liberty after he denied the traffic charges.
He said that based on the “unreliability of the evidence adduced in the case”, he was left with no alternative but to free Mr Kahangara, who has been on trial for the past two years.
The magistrate said that, for instance, there was doubt regarding the proximity of the purported eyewitness, who alleged to have seen the MP assault Corporal David Ruto.
“The witness said he was standing outside Kahama Hotel while the alleged incident took place several meters (away) along Murang’a Road …anyone who is familiar with the place such as me would definitely doubt if at all one is able to see that far,” he said.
He also said the case against the MP may have been fueled by “malice”, just like in a separate case in which he was charged with committing six offences of flouting traffic rules.
In the case, the police charged Mr Kahangara of failing to carry his driving licence, contrary to the law, and driving a motor vehicle without a licence.
He has since been acquitted in the traffic case.
Mr Ruto had claimed in his testimony that he was punched to the ground by the MP after he tried to stop him as he drove off despite being signaled by a uniformed police officer to pull over.
Mr Cheruiyot questioned why the police officers were not interested in recording the statement of a second person who was with the accused in the same car, as a possible witness.
“Kenyans must stand against police harassment; this is victory for all of us. One reason why I decided to go all the way is because we have all seen what traffic police officers do on the roads, they try to collect bribes from Kenyans and think that if you tell a Kenyan that he will be taken to court they oblige, some accept charges and are fined even if they are innocent,” he said.
“The court noted that all the witnesses were police officers from Central Police Station and that they avoided calling a civilian passenger, who was said to have been in the accursed car,” the magistrate said.
The magistrate was making a ruling on whether the MP had a case to answer.
Lawyer Nicholas Njagi said the prosecution had failed to prove its case and applied that the Sh100,000 bond the MP had deposited be released.
Outside the courtroom, a visibly excited MP told reporters that he had chosen to fight the case for the past two years to vindicate himself on behalf of other Kenyans who have been victims of extortionist traffic police officers.