Court dismisses Obado application to reduce charges in fraud case

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 00:00 |
Migori Governor Okoth Obado. Photo/PD/FILE

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Court has dismissed an application by Migori Governor Zachary Obado seeking to reduce the number of graft charges against him in the Sh73.4 million case.

In his ruling, Milimani chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi said the govrnor’s application lacks merit to warrant the court to compel Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to reduce the number of charges against him.

The magistrate concurred with the objection by the DPP through senior state counsel Henry Kinyanjui that before charging him, the prosecution evaluated and considered the evidence available and decided that all the charges are supported by available evidence.

“Having analysed submissions from both parties, I find that Obado’s application has no merit, and I therefore reject and the case to proceed as per charges against him,” ruled the magistrate.

Obado wanted the number of charges be reduced saying that the charge sheet registered in August last year is overloaded.

He said he was on August 27, 2020 charged with 22 counts of contravening various sections of the Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

The charges range from conspiracy to commit an economic crime, unlawful acquisition of public property to money laundering, among others.

The governor is charged alongside his four children namely Susan Scarlet, Jerry Zachary, Evelyn Adhiambo and Dan Achola Okoth and others, including businessman Jared Kwaga.

Earlier, the DPP had submitted that the charges preferred against Obado arise from facts which are part of a series of similar transactions and that should be tried together in one trial.

He said that there is no known guideline or regulation that stipulates that they cannot prefer more than 12 counts against an accused person.

Kinyanjui had said that the Court of Appeal, when it expressed a desire that an accused person ought not to be charged with more than twelve counts, did not mean that it is illegal to prefer more than 12 counts against an accused person.

And in any event, it is undesirable to try separately offences arising from one transaction or related transactions as in this case. 

The prosecution had said that the court cannot dictate to the DPP on who to charge and when to charge and the number of counts to be preferred.

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