Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o has obtained a temporary reprieve from the High Court after it suspended her prosecution over alleged abuse of office and corruption charges. The court issued the order on Friday, following a petition filed by West Mugirango MP Stephen Mogaka, who argued that the trial was meant to harass and embarrass Nyakang’o.
Mogaka, who is also a lawyer, claimed that the charges against Nyakang’o were malicious and politically motivated, and that they violated her constitutional rights and dignity. He said that Nyakang’o was being targeted for performing her duties diligently and exposing the misuse of public funds by some state officers and agencies.
According to the petition, Nyakang’o was accused of authorizing the withdrawal of Ksh. 2 billion from the Consolidated Fund in 2020, without following the proper procedures and approvals. The petition further stated that Nyakang’o was also accused of receiving Ksh. 50 million as a bribe from a contractor who was awarded a tender to supply laptops to the Office of the Controller of Budget.
Mogaka argued that the charges were baseless and fabricated, and that they were meant to intimidate and interfere with Nyakang’o’s work as the Controller of Budget. He said that Nyakang’o had acted within her mandate and in accordance with the law, and that she had not received any undue benefit from the laptop tender.
He also contended that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had acted in bad faith and without proper investigations, and that he had violated the principle of prosecutorial independence and accountability. He asked the court to quash the charges and stop the trial, pending the determination of the petition.
The High Court, in its ruling, agreed to grant Nyakang’o a temporary stay of the prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the petition. The court also directed the parties to file and serve their submissions within 14 days, and set the date for the hearing on January 15, 2024. Nyakang’o, who was sworn in as the Controller of Budget in December 2019, is the second person to serve in that capacity, since the office was established. She is a certified public accountant and a former director at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.