In a courtroom twist, the former Secretary of Transport, Michael Kamau, was discharged from charges of corruption, bringing an end to a saga that has gripped Nairobi for years.
Senior Principal Magistrate Victor Wakumile of the Milimani Court dismissed the case against Kamau, now chairman of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) board, in a move that followed an application by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji. The application was made under section 879(a) of the criminal procedure code, marking a significant turning point in the scandal.
Kamau, 64, and his former colleagues, Mwangi Maingi, previous Chief Engineer for Roads, and Nicholas Ndungu, a former resident engineer, were originally indicted for their alleged roles in the suspicious redesign of a roadway in Bungoma County over a decade ago. The allegations cited a loss of approximately Sh33 million ($300,000) due to their purported mismanagement and abuse of office.
The former Transport Secretary has faced a protracted legal battle, challenging his prosecution in court over the years. Kamau first rebutted the charges, stating he was exonerated by the Court of Appeal after it concluded the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was improperly constituted when they completed their investigation and forwarded their findings to the DPP.
Kamau argued that the prosecution knowingly pursued charges against him, despite his claims of acquittal. The charges in question involved the redesign of the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia road in Bungoma County, a project that allegedly led to significant financial losses.
According to the charges, the accused officials capriciously permitted the road’s redesign, which had initially been executed by Engiconsult Consulting Engineers Ltd. This decision, made between July 2007 and March 2008, allegedly led to the loss of Sh33,303,600.
Kamau was once again arraigned before the Milimani court, securing his freedom after posting a cash bail of Sh500,000.
Despite Kamau’s attempt to challenge the charges at the High Court, Justice Hedwig Ong’udi rejected his plea in April 2018, citing a withdrawal of charges on technical grounds.
In light of these developments, Magistrate Wakumile approved the DPP’s request to discharge Kamau and his two former colleagues in the case revolving around the costly road construction, which reportedly cost the government Sh33,303,600.
This acquittal follows President William Ruto’s recent appointment of Kamau as the chairperson of the NHIF Board for a three-year term.
Kamau, Maingi, and Ndungu, all senior officials at the Ministry of Roads from 2007 to 2008, were accused of approving a costly and unnecessary redesign of the road, already completed by Engconsult Limited, thereby doubling the cost borne by the public.
The allegations against Maingi detailed abuses of office during his tenure as chief engineer for roads, while Ng’ang’a was implicated as the resident engineer. Both were accused of causing the loss of public funds by dismissing the company initially contracted for the road’s redesign.
Kamau was charged with two counts: willful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to management of public funds and abuse of office. It was alleged that Kamau, in his capacity as a public revenue manager, disregarded the original road design by Engiconsult Limited, and permitted an irregular redesign.
Despite the lengthy and complex legal proceedings, Kamau and his former colleagues have now been discharged from all charges related to