The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has suffered a blow in the Anglo Leasing case after the trial court rejected his bid to introduce more witnesses.
Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku ruled that it would be unfair to the accused to introduce new witnesses four years into the trial, terming the prosecution’s decision an afterthought.
The prosecution had last week sought the court’s permission to bring four new witnesses to the case in which some former senior government officials and businessmen are facing charges related to the multi-billion shilling security tenders that the government has termed irregular.
“I cannot help but think that the decision to call four extra new witnesses after all scheduled witnesses have testified is an afterthought by the prosecution,” Ms Mutuku said.
The four included an Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) official, an immigration officer, a document examiner, and an officer from the postmaster general’s office.
The magistrate observed that it is constitutionally anticipated that an accused person would be provided with every material, and list of witnesses in good time to enable him or her prepare for defence.
The case, she added, must be heard and concluded in the shortest time possible, to ensure fair trial, which is a fundamental right guaranteed in law.
“I would reasonably expect, as does the defense, that all anticipated witnesses would have been identified and the defence notified of the intention to have them testify, and the statements handed to them beforehand,” she said.
Forty-five prosecution witnesses have already testified in the trial that started in 2015.