DPP queries Mwiraria illness after arrest order

A warrant of arrest issued against former Finance minister David Mwiraria over a case linked to the Anglo Leasing scam has been suspended for 10 days amid protests from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Principal magistrate Felix Kombo temporarily stopped the office of the DPP and the police from arresting Mr Mwiraria for 10 days to allow him time to be discharged from hospital.

But deputy DPP Nicholas Mutuku argued that Mr Mwiraria’s admission to hospital was suspicious as it came after he was served with summons to appear in court.

The former minister is wanted to respond to charges of abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud the government of Sh10 billion in the infamous Anglo Leasing scandal.

“The doctor’s report says he will be hospitalised for five days. I will not, however, vacate the warrant of arrest but suspend it for 10 days after which I will sign the warrant and have him arrested if he does not voluntarily present himself to court,” ruled Mr Kombo.

The warrant for Mr Mwiraria’s arrest was issued on Monday but his lawyer, Ismael Abbas, pleaded with the magistrate to allow him time to present the former minister in court on Tuesday.

READ: Mwiraria faces arrest for failure to appear in court in Anglo Leasing case

Mr Abbas instead presented a medical report from Karen Hospital showing that Mr Mwiraria was admitted last Saturday and the doctor’s recommendation was that he stays in hospital for five days.

“It will be unfair to drag Mr Mwiraria to court in his current health condition. That is why we are asking that the warrant of arrest be lifted until he recuperates and becomes stable to attend court,” said Mr Abbas.

But Mr Mutuku said the medical report did not present anything new about Mr Mwiraria’s health condition and that the reasons given could not prevent him from pleading to the charges.

“The report shows he was admitted on Saturday, a day after we served him with summons to appear in court on Monday. It is like this was a scheme to ensure that he does not come to court to plead to the charges,” he said.

The deputy DPP submitted that Mr Mwiraria should not be treated as a special person “given that other people in similar situations had been compelled to come to court when faced with various charges.”

The magistrate in his ruling agreed with Mr Mutuku’s submissions that the medical report was inconclusive, and that it did not show how Mr Mwiraria’s health had worsened to stop him from coming to court.

“The timing of his admission to hospital raises a lot of questions and in any event, the medical report does not present any departure from other medical reports which have been presented over his health status,” said the magistrate.

Mr Mwiraria has never appeared in court since his co-accused in the Anglo Leasing scandal were charged in March.

He is accused alongside former Internal Security PS Dave Mwangi, former Finance PS Joseph Magari, former head of debt management David Onyonka, businessmen Deepak Kamani, Rashmi Kamani and Chamanlal Kamani for conspiracy to defraud the government between July 2003 and June 2004.

Mr Kombo directed that the matter be mentioned on December 7 for further directions.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY