Court to rule on ex-CS Rotich fate after state closes case in Arror, Kimwarer dams scandal

Court to rule on ex-CS Rotich fate after state closes case in Arror, Kimwarer dams scandal

Former Treasury CS Henry Rotich will now be waiting to know if he has a case to answer in the Sh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams graft case.

That is after the prosecution on Tuesday concluded its case against Rotich and his co-accused in the matter.

A total of 50 witnesses were called to testify although most of them were discharged without giving their testimonies after prosecutor Geoffrey Obiri told trial magistrate Eunice Kagure Nyutu that the state had no questions for the witnesses.

Rotich was charged alongside former Kerio Valley Development Authority managing director David Kimosop and eight others with conspiracy to defraud Sh63 billion for constructing the Kimwarer and Arror multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

The other accused persons are former chief economist Kennedy Nyakundi, former Nema managing director Geoffrey Wahungu and KVDA officials Jackson Kinyanjui, William Kipkemboi, Paul Kipkoech, Francis Chepkonga and Titus Muriithi.

The hearings have seen arrest warrants issued against witnesses after they failed to attend court.

One such witness was former Agriculture CS Peter Munya who dashed to court after a warrant of arrest was issued against him.

The magistrate had given police 90 minutes to arrest the former minister and produce him in court to testify.

But Munya was in court even before the lapse of an hour saying he had read on news websites about the arrest warrant and decided to come to court on his own.

When he took to the stand, however, the prosecution asked for an adjournment saying the state was not ready to lead Munya in his testimony.

That application was declined.

Munya however failed to testify as the prosecutor told the magistrate he did not have any questions for the witness.

Munya was subsequently discharged.

Since then, all the witnesses who followed were similarly discharged after the prosecutor said he had no questions for them.

Only four witnesses gave their testimonies in the case.

They included Isaac Mbugua who recanted his testimony after admitting there were lapses on the side of the tender evaluation committee.

Mbugua had testified that the contract for the Kimwarer multi-purpose dam project was awarded to a company that did not win the tender.

He said it was awarded to Italian firm CMC Di Ravenna Limited in disregard of the recommendation by the tender evaluation committee that had approved the award of tender to Sinohydro Corporation Limited because it had the best bid and scored the highest.

Mbugua, who was among the seven-member tender evaluation committee, also said that they recommended the contract for Arror to be awarded to CMC Di Ravenna Limited. Still, the company used a different name when it signed the contract with the Kerio Valley Development Authority.

“CMC Di Ravenna Limited submitted the bid and they got the award but when the contract was signed, the name of the company changed to CMC Di Ravenna Itinera Joint Venture of South Africa,” Mbugua said.

But during cross-examination, he recanted his evidence saying his committee was not the final and that the tender might have been eventually awarded to CMC Di Ravenna.

He said CMC Di Ravenna had indicated before being awarded the Arror dam tender, that it would undertake a joint venture contrary to his earlier testimony.

Defence lawyers who poked holes in Mbugua’s testimony put it to him that his tender evaluation committee failed to do its work as required and did not even read all the tender bid documents.

“I wouldn’t call it a failure but that was a lapse on our part as the tender evaluation committee. For now, I realise that the venture was joint and I recant the contents of that paragraph,” Mbugua said.

On Tuesday, the prosecution closed its case and the matter will be coming back on November 14 for a ruling on whether the accused have a case to answer or not.