PS Thuita charged over embassy scandal

Written By Michael Maunda on Thursday, February 28, 2013 | 9:13 PM

Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi was arraigned in court today over the purchase of a  Sh1.1 billion embassy residency in Tokyo.

However Mwangi and his co-accused Allan Mburu did not plead to the charges. They applied to have their plea taking deferred for two weeks to allow them to seek constitutional interpretation and raise complaints with the High Court over the violation of their rights.

Through his lawyers Evans Monari and Katwa Kigen, the PS said he has not been supplied with documents relied on as evidence from prosecution to help him make a cautionary statement.

Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission officers picked the PS Thuita Mwangi from the Foreign Affairs offices yesterday afternoon and took him to the EACC headquarters. Thuita was accompanied by his lawyer Evans Monari.

Mwangi and Mburu are accused of facilitating the purchase of a chancery and an ambassador’s residence in Tokyo at  Sh800 million above the market value. Mwangi is  the Foreign Affairs Ps and Mburu as the Charge D'Affaires at the time.

The chancery and the ambassador’s residence, acquired by Kenya last year, are located at Yakumo, Meguro-ku in Tokyo, on land measuring 1,431.77 metre square.

According to  a report tabled in parliament in 2010 by Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations the government lost close to Sh1.1 billion in the deal. The committee also found that the government lost a further Sh84.1 million in the purchase of a Chancery in
Brussels, Belgium. “The government should institute measures to recover the money lost,” the committee had recommended.

The two are also facing charges  charge of abuse of office in relation to the same transaction and refusal to comply to the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (2005). Mwangi and Mburu will be released on a cash bail of Sh 2 million while the case has been adjourned until March 8.