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City lawyer: Take it from me, I’m going nowhere

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Top city lawyer Assa Nyakundi has denied reports that he is on the run after a warrant was allegedly issued for his arrest for skipping a court session.

“There has been no arrest warrant issued against me that I am aware of, or which my legal team has been informed about,” Mr Nyakundi told the Nation in an exclusive interview.

The lawyer spoke Monday at the Milimani Law Courts, where he had gone to represent a client.

Reached for comment, Assistant Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Catherine Mwaniki, who is leading the prosecution, told the Nation that she is not allowed to comment on the matter.

The Director of Communications at the DPP, Mrs Beatrice Omari, also failed to confirm whether the DPP had a warrant for Mr Nyakundi’s arrest.

Mr Nyakundi said that he spent the weekend running errands in Nairobi and in social joints, where he joined other revellers to watch the Uefa Nations League final on Sunday night.

“At no time have I contemplated running away. I am abiding by the court orders and proceedings,” he said.

Mr Nyakundi failed to appear in court on June 5, when Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Teresia Nyangena was to determine whether she will recuse herself from the case after she was accused of making an inappropriate contact with the suspect’s lawyers.

READ ALSO:   How investigators attempted to cover up lawyer Nyakundi in son’s murder case

“I did not go to court since the day fell on a public holiday, and as a result, the magistrate set July 5 as the date for a ruling on the matter,” he said.

His failure to appear in court annoyed the prosecution, which saw Ms Mwaniki ask the court the next day to issue a warrant for his arrest. The application led to a showdown between her and Senior Principal Magistrate Brian Khaemba.

While Ms Mwaniki wished to have Mr Nyakundi arrested for contempt of court, Mr Khaemba declined to give the order, saying his senior, Ms Nyagena, still had the lawyer’s file.

Mr Khaemba also rejected her request that he goes through a skeleton of the file and make a ruling.

Since Mr Nyankundi shot his 29-year-old son, Mr Joseph Bogonko, in unclear circumstances on the afternoon of March 17, the incident has sucked in officers from the Judiciary, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

It began with Mr Nyakundi’s long stay at a private hospital, where it was said that he was seeking medical attention, and ended with Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti interdicting his officers for bungling the case.

Mr Kinoti accused the investigating officers of intentionally failing to include scene of crime photos, a scene of crime analysis report, or a ballistics report in the trial file.

READ ALSO:   Split in family as lawyer’s son buried quietly at city cemetery

Further, he wants the manslaughter charges substituted with murder, saying that there is sufficient evidence that the shooting was made with the intention to kill.

Already, the DPP has applied to have the charge substituted, a move that the lawyer’s wife, said to have been listed as a prosecution witness, has opposed.

Further, on May 20, Ms Mwaniki filed an application in which she accused the court of having been compromised to influence the outcome of the case.

The case has taken yet another twist with Mr Nyakundi saying he reads malice in the conduct of the DCI and DPP.

 “I will file a constitutional petition at the High Court against the DPP and the DCI for violating my rights,” said Mr Nyakundi, who accuses both the DPP and DCI of exposing him to negative publicity and issuing untruthful information to the public on the ongoing investigation.

The trial of Mr Nyakundi, one of the country’s leading lawyers, makes for a tough battle, given that it pits seasoned prosecutors said to do what it takes to have a suspect convicted against a team of lawyers renowned for saving their clients from the hangman’s noose.

Ms Mwaniki, one of the longest serving public prosecutors, was the head of the murder section at the public prosecutor’s office until June last year, when DPP Noordin Haji moved her to the Extradition and International Cooperation Division.

READ ALSO:   Top city lawyer arrested for "accidentally" shooting dead his 29-year-old son

A prosecutor with one of the highest conviction rates, she has a history of working tirelessly to ensure suspects are convicted.

Judiciary insiders say that she is the person to go to when you want to nail high-profile individuals and in complex murder issues.

 In the most recent cases, Ms Mwaniki was the lead prosecutor in the murder cases against journalist Jackie Maribe and Migori County Governor Okoth Obado.

Meanwhile, Mr Nyakundi’s defence team comprises six lawyers, including Mr Cliff Ombeta, the poster boy of the country’s most controversial and emotive trials, and veteran John Khaminwa, whose experiences include being detained alongside his clients.

Dr Khaminiwa was first detained from 1982 to 1983 and again in 1990 during the clamour for multi-party democracy.

In the 1990s, he represented lawyer Rumba Kinuthia in a treason case and won, a rare feat during the Moi era.

Source:nation.co.ke

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Nairobi is like Washington DC, Sonko says in defense of latest hand-over

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his decision to hand over some county functions to the national government.

In a statement posted in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Mr Sonko — who is facing corruption charges in court — said the needs of Nairobi County are unique as compared to other counties.

“My government set out on a fact finding mission that saw us benchmark and take lessons from other jurisdictions across the world including Washington DC in the US and Abuja in Nigeria. From these case studies, we established that cities and metropolis the size of Nairobi are best served jointly by devolved units and Central Governments,” he said.

He claims that with this in mind, and in his capacity as governor, he initiated discussions with the national government with a view to approaching service delivery with both County and State resources.

“It is this consultative process that led to the crafting of the historic and comprehensive agreement that we signed on Tuesday handing over the management of some of the functions of Nairobi County Government to the national government,” he added.

The Government of the District of Columbia operates under Article One of the United States Constitution and the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which devolves certain powers of the United States Congress to the Mayor and thirteen-member Council. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs. The District Government is within the Legislative branch of Federal government, which makes the government a Federal agency

READ ALSO:   Split in family as lawyer’s son buried quietly at city cemetery

The embattled governor says he is convinced that the agreement, which was signed in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, will not only help enhance service delivery in the city but also reposition Nairobi as the region’s economic hub.

“As the County Government of Nairobi, we remain committed to continue serving the people of our great county by focusing more keenly on the functions and service areas that are not covered in our agreement with the national government,” he said.

“We believe our bold decision to collaborate with the National Government through the transfer of some of our functions will create a positive governance precedence that will help strengthen devolution,” he added.

He the thanked Mr Kenyatta and the Jubilee Administration showing in ensuring Nairobi residents “get the best services from their government”.

NAIROBIANS REACT

The explanation given by the governor has drawn sharp reactions from Nairobi residents on his social media pages.

“In New York and other major cities, they have mayors voted by the people. Even London. Not happy at all. We voted you in…not the National government…This decision will hurt service delivery,” said Facebook user Johnnie Muthuis.

“By the way what about the CEC’s of those functions taken to the national government like Health? What is their mandate now?” another user, SA Mwakush, wondered.

READ ALSO:   Brother to city lawyer who fatally shot son speaks

Another resident, Twitter user @wanjutha, asked why the public not involved in the process.

Others were positive about the move, saying the collaboration could be a great idea.

“Nairobi deserves the best that’s why Governor Mike Sonko has collaborated with the national government to make Nairobi great,” said Kennie Balo.

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Kenya to import US wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

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Kenya has agreed to lift a decade-old prohibition on US wheat following a deal between President President Uhuru Kenyatta and Donald Trump.

It will see American wheat from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington states shipped to Kenya regardless of state of origin or port of export, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement.

For the last 12 years, Kenya has locked wheat from the three states, citing prevalence of a fungal disease known as flag smut of wheat (urocystis agropyri).

“American farmers in the Pacific Northwest now have full access to the Kenyan wheat market,” USDA Undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programms Greg Ibach said in a statement.

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and APHIS/PPQ of the US signed the Export Certification Protocol allowing the wheat imports to Kenya on January 28.

The protocol gives US exporters full access to Kenya’s wheat market, valued at nearly Sh50 billion ($500 million) annually.

Kenya is a net importer of wheat, bringing in two-thirds of its requirement to meet the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against the production of 350,000 tonnes.

Kenya charges 10 percent duty on all imported wheat, which is cheaper than the locally-produced commodity.

As part of the technical agreement, APHIS of the US will enhance general surveillance for the fungal-disease-prone wheat.

READ ALSO:   Brother to city lawyer who fatally shot son speaks

The win for US farmers comes amid discussion for a free trade pact between Nairobi and Washington.

“Going forward, the USDA team looks forward to building on this success and further strengthening our relationship with Kenya as we pursue a new bilateral free trade agreement that will create additional market opportunities for US producers and exporters,” said US Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in a statement.

President Trump and President Kenyatta announced intention to start formal talks on a trade agreement.

President Kenyatta had said a new trade deal could make Kenya a hub for US companies doing business in Africa.

By Nation

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Lifestyle

Why most Kenyans prefer to build their own homes

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High cost of buying homes and poor land tenure system are the main reasons Kenyans construct own homes as opposed to purchasing ready ones, experts say.

Most Kenyans, according to the 2019 census report, prefer building own homes unlike in most developed economies where majority of the people buy ready homes.

The report, released last week, says only 2.8 per cent of Kenyan households living in own homes bought them while majority, 93.9 per cent, live in houses they constructed themselves with 3.3 per cent living in inherited dwellings.

Eric Muchunku, a consultant at UN Habitat, attributed the phenomenon to high cost of buying homes and the flexibility that comes with constructing own dwelling.

Operational costs

“The first thing that comes to my mind is cost. Houses built by commercial developers are still more expensive, probably because the developers transfer some costs and operational costs and taxes to the clients. Government incentives given to the developers do not trickle down to the home buyers,” he added.

Building your own house, he said, also allows one to construct at their own pace, in phases, depending on the amount of money you have at the time. It enables one to use low-cost labour including using relatives for unskilled work.

READ ALSO:   Nyakundi's son: Wife now wants husband set free over son’s killing

While constructing own house enables one to customise the layout to the owner’s personal needs, the quality and structural integrity is usually lower than when using professional developers, notes Muchunku.

Architectural Association of Kenya Vice President, Wilson Mugambi blamed the situation on the country’s disorganised land tenure system and the high prices asked by property developers.

“The price asked by property developers is beyond the reach of majority of Kenyans, everything has been overpriced. Very few people are able to take a mortgage,” he said.

“Developed countries have a very organised land tenure system. That’s what we need too. Our system is all based on speculation, we have an obsession with land ownership,” he added.

He observed that a majority of people living in the rural areas built own

homes as opposed to buying, a factor that could have contributed to the undesirable statistics. Kenya has over 12 million households with an average of four people per household, according to the 2019 census.

As a whole, most Kenyan households (61.3 per cent) live in own dwellings while 38.7 per cent live in rented or provided dwellings, most of which are roofed with iron sheets.

The 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census survey shows that 80.3 per cent of the households occupied dwelling units that had iron sheet as the main roofing material followed by concrete or cement at 8.2 per cent. The dominant material used for wall construction was mud or cow dung at 27.5 per cent followed by stone with lime or cement at 16.5 per cent.

READ ALSO:   Brother to city lawyer who fatally shot son speaks

Concrete walls

Dwelling units with concrete walls accounted for 16.3 per cent of the total. The predominant floor material was concrete or cement accounting for 43.7 per cent followed by earth or sand floors at 30 per cent,” it adds.

In the last 10 years, Kenya’s population has grown by about 10 million people to reach 47.6 million up from 37.7 million in 2009. However, the population and housing census indicated that the overall population growth rate declined from 2.9 per cent in 2009 to 2.2 per cent in 2019 while the average household size declined from 4.2 people in 2009 to 3.9 people in 2019.

By PD

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