Defense lawyers fail to stop witnesses from testifying
Attempts by defense lawyers to bar two former CEC members to testify in a case where Garissa governor Nathif Jama and six of his former tender committee members are charged with irregularly leasing ambulances from the Kenya Red Cross was yesterday overruled by Garissa chief magistrate Cosmus Maundu.
Defense lawyer Issa Mansoor in his application said the provision by the constitution for fair trial should not have undue advantage over the accused persons.
His colleague Amunga Cohen who was the first to stand to file the application seeking to block Idriss Mukhtar (CEC Finance) and Mukhtar Bulale (CEC health) from testifying claimed they were present in court when seven other witnesses were testifying since Monday.
“Witnesses who come to court should give impartial and truthful evidence to assist the court. But witnesses who sat in court tailor their responses to fit in the evidence in chief or cross examination,” Mansoor said.
“Therefore the court is not in a position to tell which version of the story is correct and therefore reject the application by the defense to exclude the witness from testifying,” he said.
“However the defense is at liberty to pursue the issue during cross examination,” he added.
In his testimony, Idriss said the lease agreement between the county government and Emergency Medical Services was illegal since the governor signed the contract instead of the chief officer of health.
Idriss said there was no budgetary allocation to finance the contract in the 2013/14 budget, and the cabinet then did not approve the lease but assigned the parent ministry to do a cost benefit analysis whether to lease or purchase new vehicles.
The former CEC said the governor committed the government into an expenditure which had no budgetary allocation.
The hearing resume on April 27 after defense lawyer Issa Mansoor told the court he had a case at the court of appeal in Nairobi.
Eight witnesses will testify among them former EACC regional head Abdraham Kemboi who was the lead investigator in the case and former health CECs Mukhtar Bulale and health officer Sophia Omar.
The six tender committee members are Rahma Dekow, Jawahir Keinan, Abdi Sahal, Safia Mohamed, Mohamed Hassan and Mohamud Hassan Mohamed