The Director of Public Prosecutions has appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn a decision that stopped the prosecution of 127 corruption cases worth Sh17 billion after judges ruled that their trials were illegal because the anti-graft agency was not well constituted.
In the appeal, the DPP and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) argues that failure to overturn earlier High Court ruling would derail the fight against corruption.
Last July, the Court of Appeal ruled that the absence of the EACC chairperson and two other commissioners meant it not properly constituted in accordance with the law and that cases the agency investigated during that period were unlawful.
Some of the cases lodged in court within the period when former EACC chairman Mumo Matemu, vice-chairperson Irene Keino and commissioner Jane Onsongo left office crumbled.
The prosecutor also wants the Supreme Court to issue its verdict over the 127 cases that collapsed due to the vacuum at the EACC.
Ms Kamau reckons that it was not possible to withdraw the cases the prosecution had closed, conviction entered and sentences pronounced without resulting in acquittal if it pursues the wish of the Court of Appeal to charge the suspects afresh now that the EACC is properly constituted.
The office of the DPP says it is also not easy to investigate the bribery cases afresh and carry out searches where warrants had been obtained, executed and evidence obtained as well as preserve the proceeds of crime including money.
“It is in the interest of the public that the orders are granted so that the investigation, detention and prosecution of the corruption cases can proceed,” the office of the DPP said in the affidavit.
Among the cases that have now been dismissed following the commission’s lacuna include that of former Cabinet secretaries Michael Kamau and Charity Ngilu.
Appellate judges freed Ms Ngilu, now Kitui governor, after appellate declaring her trial unconstitutional.
She had been charged with obstructing the commission officials from investigating the 134-acre Karen land scandal.
Mr Kamau also had his criminal case permanently quashed.
The former minister argued that the commission’s secretariat did not have the authority to recommend any charges in the absence of commissioners because the law provides that the EACC only execute its duties legally if it has at least three commissioners.