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Economy

Court formally terminates Goldenberg case

Businessman Kamlesh Pattni. Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava has absolved Pattni and his associated firms from the Goldenberg scandal. Photo/SALATON NJAU
Businessman Kamlesh Pattni. Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava had absolved Pattni and his associated firms from the Goldenberg scandal. Photo/SALATON NJAU 

Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattni on Friday walked out of Milimani Magistrate court a free man after all criminal charges against him were formally terminated.

Criminal charges against Pattni were terminated by the Magistrate court following the judgment by High Court that absolved Mr Pattni and his associated firms from the Goldenberg scandal.

The case was struck out by Chief Magistrate Waweru Kiarie following Mr Pattni’s application that the court terminates the case in compliance with High Court orders. The officials from office of Director of Public Prosecution confirmed to the court that they participated in high court proceedings and Judgment has been delivered.

“The case is marked struck out and the securities are therefore discharged,” ruled Mr Kiarie.

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The ruling terminates the 11 charges Mr Pattni has been facing at the lower court.

Mr Pattni was charged with conspiracy to defraud the government Sh5.8 billion, which was just one of multiple cases related to the scam that is believed to have cost Kenyan tax payers more than Sh100 billion.

Pattni moved to the High Court in August last year seeking to quash the criminal proceedings at the magistrate’s court and stop the State from further criminal prosecution on the scandal estimated to have cost Kenya billions of shillings.

Justice Joseph Mbalu Mutava made the judgment dated March 20 which barred the State from continuing with the criminal prosecution against Mr Pattni on the grounds that the businessman’s constitutional rights had been violated since the case had dragged on for too long.

In setting Pattni free, the judge heavily borrowed from cases that involved the late internal security minister George Saitoti and former Central Bank governor Eric Kotut, where the court recommended that the two should not be prosecuted based on the Bosire Report, which it said was heavily flawed.

Justice Mutava said the application by Pattni was related to the Saitoti and Kotut cases and the transactions were similar. He also let off the hook Kipng’eno arap Bii, a former general manager at KCB and a co-accused of Mr Pattni. The third accused, Wilfred Koinange, is deceased.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had questioned the circumstances under which Justice Mutava was allowed to continue hearing the case and deliver the judgement, yet he is being investigated by the Judicial Service Commission over his handling of criminal cases facing Mr Pattni.

The file containing Justice Mutava’s ruling is also said to have mysteriously gone missing from the High Court registry for 18 days, resurfacing only last week after the 14-day window for lodging appeals had closed.

Mr Tobiko applied to court asking to be supplied with the certified copies of the proceedings to appeal the decision.

The businessman-turned-preacher was charged in court with the offence in the 1990s, but when former President Mwai Kibaki took office in 2003, all the pending nine charges were terminated and the Bosire commission formed to investigate the scandal.

The commission in its 2006 report recommended further investigations and prosecution of the suspects including Mr Pattni.

Meanwhile, Mr Pattni struck a plea bargain deal with the Central Bank, to which he refunded Sh2.4 billion and surrendered the Grand Regency (now Laico) Hotel.

Following the recommendation of the Bosire Report, Pattni was charged at the magistrate court in 2006 with four criminal charges. In 2011, he started talks with the DPP to have the criminal proceedings dropped which collapsed early last year.

The charges against Pattni were brought afresh in April last year, where he was charged with eleven charges that included seven new ones. Following the development, he moved to High Court seeking to stop further prosecution saying that the state had infringed on his rights.

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