High Court has directed that an application by Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s co-accused seeking to temporarily stay the corruption case against them be heard on Monday 14th.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi directed that the application by Antony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal be served on the respondent i.e the Director of Public Prosecution forthwith and be placed before the duty judge on 14th September 2020 for directions.
In his application, Ombok names the DPP as the respondent while his co-accused, the Governor and ROG Security Limited as interested parties.
Through Lawyer Danstan Omari, the applicant wants the court to set aside, vary and or vacate the orders issued by Hon. Douglas Ogoti CM, on the 7th September 2020, as the said orders offend his right to a fair trial, access to justice and to adequately prepare for trial.
The court heard that on 7th September, when the applicant and his co-accused were to take plea afresh as was initially expected, the DPP interrupted court proceedings by intimating their desire to substitute the charges that had initially been preferred against them and introduce more offences.
The DPP is said to have proceeded to serve the applicant with a new charge sheet dated the 7th September 2020, introducing new charges against him and altering the offence as was originally presented to and understood by the applicant thus fundamentally throwing the applicant’s defence off balance.
“The Honourable Magistrate Ogoti, CM proceeded to adjourn the plea taking to 14th September 2020, at 0900 hrs with further orders that the hearing of the matter will soon thereafter proceed without fail at 1000hrs,” says Omari
Judge Ngugi heard that the orders and directions of the Honourable Ogoti, CM to the extent that the hearing will proceed immediately after the plea is taken renders meaningless the applicant’s right to adequately prepare for his trial especially in light of the substituted charge sheet that has fundamentally drawn the applicant aback and distracted his intended line of defence.
Ombok further wants the High Court to temporarily stay the proceedings before the lower court Anti-Corruption Case No.1 of 2020 pending the hearing and determination of the application.
In addition, he wants the court to be pleased to call for and examine the record of the proceedings in Nairobi Anti-Corruption Case No. 1 of 2020 for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of the Orders and directions made therein on 7th September 2020.
Ombok claims that he has reason to believe that the proceedings are being conducted or motivated by some political interests or influenced by external factors.
He also alleges that the DPP is keen on embarrassing him by ambushing him with new charges and multiple cases including Anti-Corruption no.31 and 32 of 2019 in addition to the now impugned Anti-corruption no.1 of 2020.
“It is in the best interest of justice that this matter is prioritized and heard before Anti-corruption case no.1 of 2020 comes up for plea taking and hearing on the 14th September 2020 as directed by the Hon.Ogoti,CM,” says the applicant.