Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku Tuesday walked out of a Nairobi court a free man following differences between Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti over his prosecution for alleged illegal tender awards.
Dr Manduku, together with the Commissioner Customs and Border Control at Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Mr Kevin Safari, were arrested on Monday evening and held before being arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts yesterday.
Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot said that the two were free to walk away from the courtroom amid simmering differences between the offices of Mr Haji and Mr Kinoti. His directive came after the investigating officer produced a charge sheet authorised by the DCI but which was disowned in court by the DPP office.
Later, a senior State prosecutor went to court and said that the DPP had recalled their case file in the morning and indicated that he needed to review it.
He also indicated that the DPP had directed they should be freed on a police bond. But since they were arraigned in court and there was a clear clash on the roles between the DPP and the DCI in handling the matter, the magistrate agreed with the defence lawyers that the two should be freed and not held in custody.
Dr Manduku was to face charges of unlawfully awarding tenders for the construction of cargo storage facilities at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) following his arrest on Monday.
The two were held in the court basement cells for a few hours as the prosecution waited for their file to be brought to court. A battery of lawyers were also ready to defend them.
And when they were brought before Mr Cheruiyot, there was no file nor a charge sheet. The matter was adjourned briefly, waiting for the file to be brought from the DPP’s office.
And when Dr Manduku and Mr Safari were called out for the second time, the magistrate asked the prosecution what to do with them.
Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Joseph Riungu then told the court that he did not know why the two had been brought to court yet the DPP had instructed that they be released on police bond.
A charge sheet released on Monday evening had indicated that Dr Manduku and Mr Safari would be charged with unlawfully awarding tenders for the construction of cargo storage facilities at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD). They were to face a total of 11 counts.
An investigating officer, Mr Gituathi Njoroge, told the court that the charge sheet was ready and was in the dark on why the DPP’s office had failed to approve the charges.
Lawyer Nelson Havi told the court that Dr Manduku was arrested on Monday despite obtaining a court order in December that barred the police from arresting him.
He said the KPA boss had paid an anticipatory bail of Sh500, 000.
He complained that Dr Manduku was held incommunicado and none of his family members or lawyers were able to access him.
Releasing the duo, the magistrate said: “If the DPP and the DCI are not ready we will not interfere, but we will give them time so that they can put their house in order.”
Mr Cheruiyot said it was not fair to continue holding them in the cells yet there was no charge sheet.
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