ERC managers arrested for ‘plotting to defeat justice’

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) last evening arrested two Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) senior managers over the disappearance of crucial documents that could derail the Sh4 billion corruption case against former Kenya Power senior managers.

Sources at DCI said detectives had arrested general manager in charge of supply chain John Ombui and company secretary Beatrice Neto. They are expected in court this morning.

“We are going to charge them with conspiracy to defeat justice by hiding the original report that is supposed to form the basis of the case against the managers,” DCI director George Kinoti told the People Daily on telephone.

The hearing of the case against former Kenya Power managing director Ben Chumo and other top managers was to proceed yesterday but senior assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti sought adjournment on grounds that original documents to be relied on by four witnesses in their testimonies could not be traced.

The witnesses are said to be drawn from Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA).

Muteti said ERC had prepared a report on procurement of substandard transformers, in which Chumo and his successor, Ken Tarus, were implicated.

“The reason evidence of these witnesses cannot be taken today is because certain reports cannot be traced,” said Muteti.

This, he said, has led DPP Noordin Haji to order Kinoti to investigate the circumstances under which the reports on purchase of faulty transformers went missing.

“The DPP has directed investigations into the disappearance of the said material and an outcome is awaited. We expect an answer on Friday,”  he added.

In a ruling, senior principal magistrate Felix Kombo gave the State until Friday to complete investigations over the alleged disappearance of documents.

“While this investigative process by the DPP undoubtedly entails a loss of time and a measure of delay, such is the cost that all must bear for justice to not only be done, but be seen to be done,” said Kombo.

The court heard that an inquiry has been opened by the DCI to investigate circumstances of the disappearance of the original documents.

Defence lawyer Assa Nyakundi also informed the court that his clients (ex-Kenya Power managers) were not involved in the disappearance of the documents at their former offices.

Chumo and Tarus are facing charges of conspiracy to commit economic crimes and abuse of office.

On July 16, last year, nine other managers and a director of Muwa Ltd pleaded not guilty to the charges of: aiding the commission of a felony, willful failure to comply with the law, conspiracy to defeat justice and fraudulent acquisition of public property and procuremen and supply of faulty transformers.

Those charged were Beatrice Meso, K.P. Mungai, Joshua Mutua, Abubakar Swaleh, Samuel Ndirangu, Stanley Mutwiri, Benson Murithi, Peter Mwicigi, John Ombui and James Mungai, a director of Muwa, the firm that was allegedly involved in the procurement.

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