Kenya

Sonko graft case: witnesses placed under protection

Sonko graft case: witnesses placed under protection
  • The court was told that they will use pseudo names in their statements and will give evidence in a closed door session.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has placed some of the people that will testify against Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko under witness protection.

This was revealed in court on Tuesday when the anti-corruption watchdog said the High Court has allowed the agency to have some witnesses in the case testify under protection due to sensitivity of the matter.

The case where he is charged with others over loss of Sh357 million was up for mention today to confirm compliance by EACC to supply the defence with documents.

EACC says the witnesses are under the Witness Protection Agency, a State body established under the Witness Protection Act to protect persons with important information and who are facing potential risk or intimidation because of their co-operation.

The court was told that they will use pseudo names in their statements and will give evidence in a closed door session while 'hiding' in a box.

Sonko's team protested the decision, saying it was not aware of the order.

His lawyers accused EACC and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of failing to make full disclosure of documentary evidence as required in principle of fair trial.

STATE NON-COMPLIANCE

Sonko's team also protested over the State's non-compliance of court orders that the accused be supplied with witness statements.

Defence lawyers Cecil Miller and George Kithi noted there had been no compliance with the January 27, 2020 court order to the DPP and EACC that they furnish Sonko and other suspects with evidence in readiness for the pre-trial on February 26.

At the same time, chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the DPP and EACC have frustrated the fast-tracking of graft cases by failing to adhere to timelines set by the court to avail evidence to suspects.

Mr Ogoti said there has been public outcry that the court has been delaying disposal of graft cases but that it is not their fault.