On December 14, 2023, an anti-corruption court acquitted former Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Henry Rotich and eight co-defendants of fraud-related charges linked to the troubled construction of two dams.
The court criticized the prosecution's handling, noting a lack of diligence. Only eight out of 49 witnesses were presented, with 41 witnesses not interrogated, suggesting a possible strategy for a prosecution-led acquittal.
The court condemned the prosecution's approach as destined for failure, characterized by a reckless dereliction of duty from the beginning. Obiri and Mureithi were prosecutors in this case.
As a result, on December 29, Transparency International, KHRC, Katiba Institute, and Africog filed a lawsuit seeking accountability for the reckless dereliction of duty by prosecution advocates.
In the petition, the organizations asked the court to lift the immunity of the prosecutorial counsel and hold them personally liable if the former accused persons pursue damages for malicious prosecution.
The urgency is emphasized, fearing additional losses from potential damages paid from the public purse, already depleted by the Sh63 billion loss. The case cost the public even more—from resources spent on investigations and prosecution to adjudication conducted for the flopped case.
Apart from Obiri and Mureithi, the Director of Public Prosecution, Renson Ingonga, was also sued, with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) serving as an interested party.
The petition also seeks to prevent government officials from using public funds to compensate damages if Rotich or the other former suspects win their case for wrongful prosecution. The argument is straightforward: there is uncertainty regarding the responsible parties returning public money in case of a favorable ruling for the former accused.
Additionally, the organizations are urging the court to impose fines on Obiri, Mureithi, and Ingonga to discourage future neglect of prosecutorial duty, protecting the public from unnecessary costs resulting from the accused's actions.
We demand that no more public resources should be applied in this matter, including the defense of the prosecutors sued—they should do so at their costs.
Read the petition here.