Court rejects Haji’s bid to produce new evidence in Sh7.6b Triton case
An attempt by the Director of Public of Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to adduce fresh evidence in the long drawn Sh 7.6 billion Triton case hit a snag yesterday after the court declined to allow the same.
Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi rejected the DPP’s application to introduce fresh evidence in the case facing oil fugitive Yagnesh Devani and five others terming it as an ambush to the accused persons.
He also noted that allowing the fresh evidence to be adduced is likely to embarrass the accused persons by having them confront new allegations at a very late stage in the trial that has been on for the last 12 years.
“I concur with the defence team that the DPP’s new move to introduce new evidence when the last witness, the investigating officer, is giving evidence is an ambush,” Mugambi said.
He added that the accused persons needed to be informed of the new charges and the fresh evidence sought to be introduced against them.
On the amendment of the charges, the magistrate allowed the State to amend the same after the case was withdrawn against some accused persons.
“I will allow the amendment of the charges because the defence had no objection especially owing to the fact that some accused persons were dropped after the prosecution successfully withdrew the case against them under Section 87 of the CPC,” Mugambi ruled.
In the application, the current prosecuting counsel wanted to have the new charge sheet admitted in court and the accused person plead afresh to the amended charges saying that the move was arrived at after Haji reviewed the file.
In the case, more than 30 witnesses have since testified in the case. Prosecution further wants to be allowed to introduce fresh evidence against tycoon Devani and five others.
The defence team had vehemently opposed the DPP application in relation to the amended charges and introduction of new evidence saying it is an ambush as they defied pretrial directions.
“We oppose the introduction of new documents at this late stage. The documents are being presented after crucial witnesses have testified and will not have the opportunity to recall those witnesses.
This is a matter that commenced more than 10 years ago,” said the defence lawyers.
In the case, Devani, Mahindra Pathak, Julius Kyalo Kilonzo, Collin Otieno and Triton Petroleum are accused of jointly disposing of 13 million cubic metres of diesel worth Sh32,047,783 without consent of Emirates National Oil Corporation (Singapore).
Others charged are Benedict Mutua, Peter Manono Mecha and Phanuel Silvano.
They are all charged with conspiring to defraud a number of petroleum companies by purporting that Triton had diesel ready for sale at Kenya Pipeline Company storage in Kipevu.
Devani is yet to be charged while his co-accused person Mecha passed on.