DPP opposes Sonko's bid to identify protected witnesses


Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in court in the past. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has opposed a bid by ex-Nairobi governor Mike Sonko to unmask the identity of protected witnesses in his graft trial.

Mr Haji said the order by the trial magistrate Douglas Ogoti allowing the redacting of some information on the witnesses, use of pseudonyms and closed sessions, has not in any way infringed on Sonko’s rights.

The DPP further said Mr Sonko has not demonstrated how the conditions, which warranted the grant of protective orders, have significantly changed and that the witness no longer need protection.

“It is not sufficient for the Applicant to question the discretion of the trial courts for the reason that it believed that the court ought to have made a different decision. For this court to review any order of the trial court, the applicant must demonstrate a manifest error,” the DPP said in reply to a petition filed by Mr Sonko.

In the case Mr Sonko and senior officials in his administration were charged with corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of office over procurement tenders amounting to Sh357 million. He was released on cash bail of Sh15 million after denying a total of 19 counts.

Mr Sonko is accused of corruptly receiving more than Sh25 million, through proxies including Fredrick Odhiambo. The money was allegedly deposited into mr Sonko’s personal accounts in different banks and in different parts of the country.

The DPP later withdrew charges against some of the accused persons and turned them to witnesses. Mr Haji also redacted some information and used pseudonyms and closed sessions in the trial.

Mr Sonko challenged the move but Mr Ogoti dismissed his plea, prompting him to move to the High Court.

The DPP said Mr Sonko has not placed any information before court that would cause it to vary the orders.

Mr Haji also dismissed claims by Mr Sonko that he has been denied adequate time and facilities to prepare for his defence and the right to be informed in advance of the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on, by redacting some witness statements.