Former Local Government permanent secretary Sammy Kirui has been acquitted by the High Court over his involvement in Ksh283 million cemetery land saga.
Kirui was jailed for three years alongside former City Town clerk John Gakuo after being found guilty of abuse of office and failure to comply with procurement rules. Gakuo later died while serving his jail term.
Others who were convicted in the saga include former legal director in the now defunct Nairobi City Council (NCC) Mary Ngethe and a tender committee member Alexander Musee.
In his ruling that acquitted kirui, Justice John Onyiego said there was insufficient evidence by the prosecution to convict the accused.
The Judge however upheld the conviction of Ngethe and Musee after evaluation of the evidence indicated that they were guilty of corruption.
Delivering his sentencing in 2018, Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti ruled that whereas Mr Kirui and Mr Gakuo acted passively and allowed embezzlement of public funds to take place under their watch, Ms Ngethe and Mr Musee served as corruption conduits in the deal.
“I find that the prosecution has proved the case beyond any reasonable doubt. It is the accused persons who know why they acted the way they did, leading to loss of public funds. I find them guilty of each of the offences they are charged with and convict them accordingly,” ruled Mr Ogoti.
Ogoti in his ruling found that Gakuo was at the centre of the entire process but did not stop it, and ruled that the former city clerk’s correspondence with the former PS was a deliberate cover up to defraud the Ksh283 million.
“What they did was like a cover-up game. When issues were raised about the land’s suitability, Kirui said he informed Gakuo to look into the concerns raised after which he decided to be passive as public money was being lost,” said Ogoti.
NCC procurement officer Boniface Okerosi and land surveyor Cephas Kamande are serving two years in jail for failing to raise a Sh77 million fine for their role in the irregular purchase of the cemetery land.