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Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga faces removal from office

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A rights activist has asked the Judicial Service Commission to remove Chief Justice David Maraga from office for alleged gross misconduct.

Mr Okiya Omtatah, who filed the petition on Wednesday, is unhappy with Justice Maraga’s intervention in a case he had filed over the filling of a vacancy in the office of the auditor-general.

He accuses the Supreme Court president of stopping a High Court judge from delivering a ruling in a case challenging the process of hiring a replacement for Mr Edward Ouko who retired.

Mr Omtatah claims that Justice Maraga illegally called for a file and indefinitely suspended delivery on a ruling that Justice Stephen Radido was meant to deliver.

Justice Maraga is yet to respond to the petition filed with the judiciary employer, where the Chief Justice also sits.

THE ALLEGATIONS

In his case at the High Court, Mr Omtatah has challenged the government’s decision to re-advertise the auditor-general’s job following Mr Ouko’s exit last year.

Justice Radido was expected to deliver a ruling on February 26 but Mr Omtatah now claims that the Chief Justice hijacked the file, stopping the case from proceeding.

The activist’s JSC petition accuses Justice Maraga of interfering with the High Court’s independence, something that could pose difficult questions for Kenya’s justice system.

READ ALSO:   Kenya’s CJ dismisses letter cautioning judges against swearing-in Raila and Kalonzo.

The JSC received the petition on March 4 but is yet to confirm the hearing dates.

Mr Omtatah wants the JSC to “be pleased to initiate the necessary procedures for inquiry into the conduct and subsequent removal of Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga for breach of oath of office and gross misconduct and/or misbehaviour incompatible with the Status of Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya”.

He adds: “The actions of the learned Chief Justice constitute a subverment and defilement of the Constitution, a threat to the rule of law and constitutional order, and is a breach of the oath of office the learned Chief Justice took to protect, administer and defend the Constitution with a view to upholding the dignity and respect of the Judiciary and the judicial system of Kenya.”

CRUCIAL OFFICE

The process of finding Mr Ouko’s successor has stalled since last year, partly owing to the petition Mr Omtatah filed.

Under Kenya’s law, this individual should have been appointed by December 2019.

The Constitution does not provide for deputisation of the auditor-general, hence a huge gap in one of Kenya’s most crucial offices charged with overseeing the use of public funds.

The stalled succession also leaves Kenyans exposed as no other officer in the auditor-general’s office is allowed to sign off audit reports on government institutions.

READ ALSO:   Maraga speaks on romantic relationship allegations with a female judge

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Courts

How a rogue motorist ruined a waitress’ life

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Mary Muinde, a waitress, left her workplace at a restaurant on Mombasa Road for a routine ride home that, however, turned horrific and ruined her life.

The harrowing ordeal cost the 28-year-old single mother of two her job, nearly had her leg cut off and the ugly scars have killed the prospects of a new job.

At around 10.30pm on December 16, 2017, Ms Muinde had ended her shift at the restaurant, exhausted from long hours of standing and shuttling while taking orders from diners.

She had flagged down a motorcycle for the ride to her home at Mawasco area in Athi River.

As the motorcycle sped away with the cold wind blasting her face, she clutched tightly on the rider and, momentarily, her thoughts drifted away.

Loud bang

They were riding along Tuskys Road at Mang’eli Junction on the final stretch to her home when a loud bang shattered the calm of the night and the two were violently tossed into the air.

She crashed hard on the tarmac and her world went blank.

Since Ms Muinde was known to those who rushed to help, they had called her sister, Ms Jane Syombua.

The waitress was unconscious as she was rushed to the nearby Shalom Hospital, just off Mombasa Road, at the Kitengela interchange.

Her condition was considered serious and she was transferred to the Machakos Level 5 Hospital where she regained consciousness hours later.

She would later learn that the motorcycle she was riding had been hit by a maroon Toyota Surf, which then sped away.

Flesh on her left thigh and the back of the knee to the calf was torn off. Her upper lip had a deep cut and her face was swollen. But the boda-boda rider seemed to only have had minor bruises.

Witness

Mr Musembi would become a crucial prosecution witness in the subsequent traffic case because the owner of the maroon vehicle that was traced to a garage the following day had denied involvement in the hit-and-run incident.

Scans on the right leg showed Ms Muinde had no fractures and she was discharged from hospital — a decision that would prove costly.

“Her condition was very bad, she should have been admitted and given the medical attention she needed,” said her brother, Mr Daniel Muinde.

The following morning as Mr Muinde and Mr Musembi went to report the accident at Athi River Police Station, they spotted the maroon vehicle parked at a garage next to a popular restaurant.

They inquired about the owner of the vehicle which had dents that were being fixed.

The group was led to the first floor of the building where they found Mr Dan Warinda.

“He refused to go with us. He was with a man who I was later told was a plainclothes officer,” recalled Mr Muinde.

Suspect questioned

The case was recorded as OB/09/17/12 at the Athi River Police Station on December 17, 2017. The police brought in Mr Warinda for questioning. He denied being involved.

On December 18, while writhing in pain in bed at her sister’s house, Ms Muinde got a surprise visitor.

It was Mr Warinda, who was accompanied by a friend.

“My sister (Syombua) did not know him and she led him to the bedroom, thinking he was one of my friends who had come to visit me. He shook my hand,” Ms Muinde recalled.

“He demanded that I go with him to the station and tell the police that I had confused his vehicle and that the identified car was not the one that had hit me. I refused,” said Ms Muinde.

The two only left when the sisters alerted their brother.

Threats

The family went back to the police station and recorded the threats.

Mr Warinda was later charged with three counts at the Mavoko Law Courts. He was accused of careless driving, driving a defective vehicle and failing to stop after an accident.

Back at home, Ms Muinde’s injury worsened as her wound was slowly turning septic. She was rushed back to the Machakos Level 5 Hospital on December 25, 2017 where she was hospitalised for 35 days.

“My leg was to be amputated. The doctors told me that the wound was rotting away and would infect my entire system. I was so scared. Luckily, they decided to work on it and it was a very painful experience. But I thank God, they did not cut it off,” she narrated.

She was discharged on February 2, 2018, having incurred a Sh77,000 medical bill. The family would spend a further Sh135,000 to hire a car for almost two months of hospital visits after her discharge.

Ms Muinde had to be taken for therapy and her elderly mother came over to look after her.

Lost her job

She lost her job. In the past three years, she has been employed for a total of two months.

“I have a background in the hospitality sector. I am a waitress. Since my accident, I cannot stand for more than 10 minutes. Yet my work involves a lot of standing and moving around. The dress code, for us ladies, is mainly skirts, but I fear wearing skirts because my scar is too big; it traumatises me,” said Ms Muinde.

She narrated how she lost her job because customers kept staring at her scar after the wound was surgically grafted.

She is still looking for a job because she has two children, aged 10 and seven.

Ms Muinde and her children have been relying on her sisters and brother for upkeep.

While the case was going on in court in early 2018, Mr Muinde contacted Directline, the insurance firm that covered the motorist.

But because Mr Warinda had denied causing the accident, the insurance firm, in a letter dated August 22, 2018, said it was awaiting the outcome of investigations and the court case.

“We refer to your notice dated 16/08/2018 and received in our offices on 17/08/2018. We shall be grateful if you would kindly, therefore, withhold precipitate action against our insured pending completion of investigations into the alleged accident herein,” the letter read.

The victim was further directed to present a list of items to the insurer including a P3 form, a police abstract, copy of national identity card, a medical report, treatment notes and a discharge summary and receipts in support of claims for special damages.

“When we were told to wait for the investigations, I relaxed. I knew we would win the case because the entire truth could not be hidden. I told them about the court proceedings and they told me they would wait for the court ruling. Should we win, they would compensate us, and gave us claim reference number 98851/1 which they would use to compensate us,” Mr Muinde said.

Court ruling

The court ruling was eventually delivered on October 12, 2020. Chief Magistrate C.C. Oluoch found Mr Warinda guilty on two counts of reckless driving and failing to stop after causing an accident.

“I, therefore, conclude that the accused was properly identified as the person who had charge of the motor vehicle registration number KAL 402A, hit motorcycle registration number KMDS 016V causing injuries to Ms Muinde,” the magistrate ruled.

BY nation.africa


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Courts

Fraud case opens lid into the sophisticated art of con game

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When seven suspects took to the dock to plead to fraud charges, they looked ordinary. Like any Tom, Dick and Harry – plain. But underneath the veneer of simplicity lay a suave and sophisticated lot that has opened the door to the world of conmanship.

The seven, who had purported to be officials from the Office of the Deputy President, were yesterday charged a fresh over a Sh180 million fake tender scam.

Allan Kiprotich Chesang, Teddy Awiti, Kevin Mutundura Nyongesa, Augustine Wambua Matata, Joy Wangari Kamau, James William Makokha alias MrWanyonyi and Johan Ochieng Osore appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku and denied the charges.

They were charged afresh after the prosecution consolidated their files.

They appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku after the prosecution consolidated their files.

The suspects, who duped the victim into supplying 2,800 pieces of laptops in August 2018, had forged a Local Purchase Order (LPO) purported to have been issued by a Mr Mulinge, an assistant procurement officer at the DP’s office.

Their case is a classic example of the tremendous transformation fraud – originally associated with dingy downtown areas, and targeting the naive and less educated people – has undergone in the last few years.

Lately, the majority of the victims – as the recent case of a high-ranking diplomat – are well exposed people.

But what has baffled detectives is the fact that some of the serious fraud cases are executed in high-level government and security offices.

READ ALSO:   Maraga speaks on romantic relationship allegations with a female judge

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the State House, Harambee House, Harambee House Annex, the United Nations, the Department of Defence (DoD), Jogoo House police offices and Afya House, are among places where fraudsters have either pitched tent, or purported to operate from.

The Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit of the DCI is currently investigating a case of fraud involving millions of shillings by suspects posing as UN staff.

The gang, including a man and a woman who the DCI a fortnight ago listed as wanted persons, are also wanted for bank fraud offences.

The DCI, in a notice in the newspapers, indicated that Gerald Gatheru Mwai and Gladys Mwara Kamau, were wanted following a warrant of arrest issued by a Milimani court in Nairobi, on October 16.

Apart from the case before court in which a warrant of arrest was issued against the duo, the two are also said to have been duping unsuspecting businessmen over nonexisting tenders at the UN.

The victims are issued with fake Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) after parting with some money, and would be directed to specific companies to purchase tendered goods, especially drugs and rice, but told to pay and wait for the goods to be delivered, because the UN complex is a security zone.

Some of the victims told detectives that since access to the UN compound was restricted, they were convinced to surrender the goods to a team of ‘UN staff’ to deliver. The fraudsters would then disappear with the goods.

The gullibility has been baffling, a clear proof that no one is immune to fraud.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Epic Kenyan poll ruling to be made before sunset Friday in line with Judge Maraga's SDA faith

In the latest fraud case involving Sh300 million that was in court on Wednesday last week, the victim, Haile Menkerios, is said to have served in different senior positions within the UN.

The suspect, businessman and former Embakasi East parliamentary aspirant

Francis Mureithi, is alleged to have defrauded Menkerios under the pretext that he could help the diplomat secure a food supply tender at the DoD.

Menkerios, 74, has served as the Head of UN office to the African Union (UNOAU) and as a Special Representative to the African Union.

He has also served as the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan.

According to Psychology professor Robert Cialdini, people fall for scams due to a number of reasons, including the principle of reciprocity or enforced indebtedness used to elicit unwise action from the targeted victims.

“Not all fraud victims are risk-taking and greedy individuals seeking to make a quick shilling. They come from a variety of socio-economic, educational, age and gender backgrounds,” a senior detective at DCI headquarters said.

And the fraudsters are not the ordinary slinky characters who operate covertly. Some of them are ubiquitous characters who use their community and professional credibility and respectability to con.

In most of the cases, fraudsters disguise themselves as employees of certain institutions and forge LPOs and letterheads to send fake tender bids to unsuspecting companies or businessmen with requests to supply goods.

DoD In another case at DoD in August this year, the once high flying former assistant minister Danston Mungatana was arrested by detectives from Kilimani DCI together with Collins Paul Waweru for the offence of obtaining money by pretences, forgery and making of a false document.

READ ALSO:   Maraga awarded honorary degree by US university – PHOTOS

The two had obtained Sh1 million by pretending they were in a position to help a business person to secure a non-existent Sh70 million tender, purportedly to supply cereals and building materials to the DOD. After the complainant parted with Sh1 million, she was called to a Nairobi hotel to meet “a senior officer who would help push the alleged business opportunity”.

AFYA HOUSE

In March this year, detectives arrested Mercy Waihiga Wanjiku alias Linda Masake Mugundu for obtaining goods valued at Sh37 million from a businessman in another fake tender at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Afya House.

Wanjiku, together with other suspects, posed as senior MoH Health officials and lured Eastleigh businessman Ibrahim Adan to deliver 20,000 boxes of hand gloves, 1000 pieces of non-contact infrared thermometers and 579 boxes of face masks worth Sh37 million.

The meetings -to award the fake tender MOH/DPPH/DNMP/001/GFONT/2019- 2020 dated May 4 to Rocketway Construction Ltd -were held at the boardroom used by the Human Resources department. According to the businessman, every time he visited Afya House, he would find the ‘officials’ waiting for him and they would quickly whisk him past the security officers at the reception.

by Zadock Angira, PD.co.ke


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Courts

Four children fight claims they were disowned by late MP

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Four children of former Keiyo North MP William Murgor yesterday fought allegations that they had been disowned by their father before his death.

While testifying before the High Court in Eldoret, Ambrose Kiplagat Murgor, one of the four children said to have been born out of wedlock, told the court their father never disowned him or any of his three siblings.

While being cross-examined before Justice Hellen Omondi, Mr Kiplagat said he was a biological child of the late MP, adding that the contrary claims were only made to lock him and his siblings out of the MP’s vast estate.

“My late father never disowned me or my siblings,” Kiplagat told the court.

He said he was born in 1970 at Murgor’s Kaptagat farm before they moved in 1976 to Chesigot farm in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The four – Kiplagat, Oscar Murgor, Sharon Murgor and Faith Murgor – who are children of the former MP’s fourth wife Anna Kimoi, have told the court they were brought up with the other children.

“We were raised together with the other siblings from the different houses. I was in school with my two brothers, Collins and Kenneth, in the same primary school, all along living as brothers,” he added.

READ ALSO:   ‘Dead beat dad? Not me’ CJ Maraga says after woman claims he fathered her child

He told the court that he did not know the reasons as to why he and his brother Oscar did not get a share of their father’s farms like rest of his siblings.

Kiplagat added that his elder sister Enid Cheptanui filed the case against her step-brother Francis Murgor, Chemutai Murgor and Keiyo North MP Dr James Murgor for excluding them in the distribution of the Sh1.4 billion family estate.

While testifying in the succession dispute, James denied knowing Kiplagat and his three siblings Oscar, Sheila and Faith Murgor.

While James claimed to have only been familiar with them for a few years, Kiplagat on the other hand told the court the MP was well known to him and that he had even campaigned for him.

“I campaigned for him in three elections, and he always introduced me as his brother. When my mother was sick, I was in contact with the MP, who even helped in paying the hospital bill,”

by Stanardmedia.co.ke


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