Court withdraws fraud case against former Kenya Power MD Ken Tarus

Tarus
Tarus

Former Kenya Power managing director Ken Tarus is a free man after a Nairobi court allowed the withdrawal of Sh159 million fraud charges against him.

Anti-corruption chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma marked the case against Dr Taus as withdrawn under section 87(a) of the civil procedure code.

The Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji, however, said he will proceed with the case against eight other officials facing charges of awarding contracts to companies that led to the fraudulent payment of Sh159 million.

Dr Tarus had been charged alongside former finance manager, Harun Karisa, the general manager for networks, Daniel Tare, and the general manager for supply chain, Daniel Muga.

Others were tender committee members Benard Muturi, Evelyne Amondi, Noah Omondi, John Njehia and James Muriuki.

The DPP through senior assistant Director of Public Prosecution Alexander Muteti said after reviewing the evidence tendered so far, no offence had been revealed against Dr Tarus. Other accused persons did not object to the application.

“For a court to decline such a request for discharge, it ought to consider whether it is an outright abuse of the court process and if there is any objection from other accused persons,” the magistrate said adding that the court cannot compel the DPP to proceed with a case he does not wish to do so.

She noted that under the section, in which Dr Tarus was freed, the DPP is free to reopen the case and have him charged afresh.

Dr Tarus and other accused persons allegedly conspired to commit an economic crime by failing to comply with the procedures and guidelines relating to procurement which led to the fraudulent payment of Sh159 million to companies that were corruptly pre-qualified for labour and transport services.

The DPP alleges that the former senior managers conspired to irregularly award multi-million shilling contracts for labour and transportation to companies that had no qualifications. They faced a total of five counts. 

Dr Tarus was separately charged with willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public funds as the accounting officer of KP by approving a list of entities (companies) irregularly pre-qualified to render labour and transport services. He denied the charges.

It was also claimed that some employees of the power utility firm owned the companies that were trading with KP and that their investigations unearthed the details that led to the charges.

Mr Muteti, however, told the court that none of the witnesses had implicated Dr Tarus, informing the decision to discharge him from the case. 

The trial is at the tail end and the investigating officer is the only person who is yet to testify. 

The court noted that the mandate to initiate, terminate or discontinue charges against any accused persons at any stage vests on the DPP, so long as he seeks the permission of the court. 

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