BY SAM ALFAN
The graft purge that saw former Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his PS Kamau Thugge axed widened with the DPP seeking CMC DI Ravenna representative in Kenya for prosecution.
However, the High Court in a judgement stopped the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji from preferring fraud charges against the advocate who registered the Kenyan arm of the Italian firm accused of receiving billions of shillings for the construction of Kimwarer and Arror dams.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi ruled that the petition by Richard Malebe was merited because his only role in the company was its registration.
“I take the view that the DPP, in seeking to prosecute the petitioner, is identifying the petitioner with the acts allegedly committed by the company that he had, several years prior to the perpetration of the alleged offences, participated in the local registration of and was indicated as the authorised person for purposes of registration,” Justice Ngugi said.
Malebe said he only registered the company- CMC Di Ravenna Kenya -in his professional capacity and played no role in stealing the funds as alleged.
While seeking to stop his prosecution, Mr Malebe said the DPP was abusing the court process by preferring fraud charges against him.
He denied being a director, shareholder or official of the company but said he executed the forms as a company secretary as well as the person authorised in the Companies Act, to accept service of process and any notices required to be served on the company in Kenya.
But the DPP through Taib Ali Taib said Mr Malebe’s role was not only to register the company, but he was also a director, the company secretary and its representative.
Former Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, PSs Kamau Thugge, Dr Susan Koech and former Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) managing director David Kimosop among others, have denied fraud charges over the construction of the two non-existent dams.
The companies, CMC Di Ravenna Itinera JV and CMC Di Ravenna Itinera JV Kenya branch, together with Mr Paolo Porcelli are accused of fraudulently receiving USD 33,663,324 between December 7, 2014 and September 7, 2018.
The DPP had argued that there was evidence, including CR12 from the registrar of companies, showing that he was the company secretary.
“He is only posing as an innocent advocate for sympathy. Not only was he identified and described as a director of the company but also its authorized person. By his own admission, he confirmed that he is the company secretary since its registration in October 2014,” he said.
The court heard that although the contract was awarded to CMC Di Ravenna Itinera- South Africa, the Kenya branch received Sh4.3 billion for Arror and a further Sh3.5 billion for Kimwarer multi-purpose dam.
Mabele maintained that he only rendered his professional services.