The withdrawal of a stream of active high profile cases due to lack of evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji including that of the late Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen’s murder charges against the prime suspect, the deceased’s wife Sarah Wairimu Cohen, her co-accused Peter Karanja and an alleged third accomplice has sparked uproar even among close family members to the deceased.
The DPP is proposing that the case be pursued through an inquest and to be filed in the Chief Magistrate’s court in Milimani, Nairobi.
Cohen’s case is the latest among a flurry of cases to be dropped since the new administration led by President William Ruto came into power.
Cohen’s family through lawyers Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta has opposed the decision by DPP to withdraw murder charges against Wairimu and have told the court that they intend to oppose the application for the withdrawal.
A letter emanating from the State Counsel Wangui Gichuhi said an inquest would serve the interest of all parties involved in the matter prompting the withdrawal of the case as a result of new affidavit by DCI officer and former head of Investigations Bureau John Gachomo retracting earlier affidavits he filed related to the case.
The accused were charged in July 2019 over the cold murder of Wairimu’s husband Tob Cohen who was found in a sewer tank at his Loresho residence with no single hearing of the case taking place at all.
Simultaneously, Aisha Jumwa Karisa Katana, the former Member of Parliament representing Malindi constituents in Kilifi County and currently serving as the Cabinet Secretary, Public Service, Affirmative Action and Gender who had been battling graft and murder charges for close to three years is now off the hook.
Jumwa will now be a state witness in the murder case.
The graft charges previously preferred against her related to Sh19million Constituency Development Fund that she had allegedly misused between the months of May and October 2018.
Jumwa was arraigned in court in august 2020, together with six others though she was released on a Sh2million bail.
The prosecution later in August 2021, amended the charge sheet requiring those accused to take a fresh plea.
According to the DPP then, he had found 10 witnesses to prove the charges against Jumwa, the prosecution alleged that Jumwa had received Sh2 million out of the Sh19 million which she allegedly used to pay for an apartment in Nairobi.
Jumwa was on September 27th this year nominated to the cabinet by President William Ruto.
Consequently, the charges were withdrawn.
The narrative relates with that of former Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, who in the near future could walk scot-free after the prosecution applied to withdraw a case which Lenolkulal is accused of misappropriating Sh80million county funds.
The ex-Samburu govenor was barred from accessing his office on May 15th 2019, an order that was upheld by Justice Mumbi Ndung’u.
On October 7th 2022, Lenolkulal was shortlisted for a Principal Secretary position, by the Public Service Commission, in less than a week, the DPP withdrew his case, a case that was investigated by the DCI.
Also, former Kenya Power Managing Director Dr. Ben Chumo has been freed by the DPP.
Chumo was arrested on July 14th 2018 alongside 9 other senior officials, with claims that under his tenure at KPLC had procured unsound transformers, worth Sh400 million.
The withdrawal came just a week after the DPP, withdrew a case against former Meru Senator Linturi, Franklin Mithika who had been charged with attempted rape in September 2021.
Linturi was then nominated on September 27th 2022 to the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary position.
High level case withdrawals has become the order of the day which have so far continued to stirred controversy and mixed reactions across the country, pushing respective stakeholders including the Law Society of Kenya to question grounds with which these cases have been deemed void.
The Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has also been absolved of any wrongdoing involving the alleged Sh7.3 billion corruption charges over lack of evidence.
The DPP applied to withdraw the charges under section 87A of the criminal procedure code saying investigations into the matter were not complete.