A former Tetu MP embroiled in a bitter ownership row with his sibling over an upmarket city estate has been charged with assaulting a guard.
However, Mr James Ndung’u Gethenji alleges he is not being treated fairly since Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji had asked for the police file on the alleged assault despite him seeking a review of the decision to prosecute him.
Mr Gethenji, through lawyer Ishmael Nyaribo, told Milimani chief magistrate Martha Mutuku on Monday that his prosecution is meant to taint his name politically.
Mr Gethenji denied assaulting Mr Godfrey Mutua, a guard at Kihingo Village in Kitisuru, Westlands Sub-County on February 5, 2021.
He faced a second of being in possession of an invalid firearms certificate on February 18, 2021 at Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens).
Mr Nyaribo said the former MP had written to the DPP through law firm Otieno Ogalo & Co. Advocates seeking a review of the decision to prosecute him over the alleged assault.
He said the letter asking the DPP to rescind his decision was informed by the fact that all disputes relating to the control and ownership of the Sh20 billion city estate have boiled down to several litigations.
The lawyer alleges that the state has descended into the arena of the dispute to force his client’s prosecution.
Ms Mutuku was told that the bitter row pits the accused and his elder brother, Fredrick Gitahi, who have locked horns over the high end estate’s ownership.
The court heard that the gated estate comprises multi-million-shilling housing units and a Club House worth over Sh5 billion, whose management has been the subject of litigations.
Mr Nyaribo pleaded with the court not to call upon Mr Gethenji to answer the assault charges in order to enable him get a report from the DPP on termination of the case.
Mr Nyaribo sought a 10-hour adjournment, but state prosecutor Anderson Gikunda opposed this saying he had been instructed by the DPP to proceed with plea taking.
Mr Gikunda denied that he had involved himself in the feud between the siblings, then furnished the court with a copy of a letter directing the prosecution of Mr Gethenji. Mr Gikunda wrote to the law firm of Otieno Ogolla communicating the decision to charge Gethenji dated August 23, 2021.
Mr Nyaribo protested this, saying Mr Gethenji had written to the DPP through senior state prosecutor Riungu Gitonga and expected a response from the office it was channeled through.
“We want to get some issues clear from the office of the DPP about the prosecution,” Mr Nyaribo.
However, Mr Gikunda explained to the court that he had been asked to file a report with the DPP’s office about the case which he did.
“The office of the DPP has carefully has carefully perused the said police file and my instructions from the DPP are that the evidence on record meets the evidential test to charge the accused person with the offences stated in the charge sheet dated February 23, 2021,” the letter signed by Mr Gikunda read in part.
In her brief ruling, Ms Mutuku noted that plea taking had been adjourned several times then called upon Mr Gethenji to answer the charges, adding: “In the event the DPP wants to terminate the proceedings he can do so at any time before conclusion of the case.”
Ms Mutuku released him on a cash bail of Sh200,000.
The case will be mentioned on September 15, 2021 for pre-trial directions.