Former Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and eight others have been acquitted of all charges related to the Sh63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal. The case was dismissed by Milimani Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Eunice Nyutu on Thursday, December 14, 2023, after the prosecution failed to prove its case.
Rotich and his co-accused, who included former Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and former Kerio Valley Development Authority Managing Director David Kimosop, were facing 24 counts of abuse of office, conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent acquisition of public property, and financial misconduct.
The scandal involved the alleged misappropriation of funds meant for the construction of two multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County. The project was awarded to an Italian firm, CMC Di Ravenna-Itinera JV, which received billions of shillings in advance payments from the government despite not having the capacity to execute the project.
The prosecution had alleged that Rotich and his co-accused entered into a commercial loan facility agreement disguised as a government-to-government loan guaranteed by the Italian government, and approved irregular payments to the contractor without due diligence. The prosecution had also claimed that former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya was the whistleblower in the scandal, and had lined up him and other witnesses to testify against Rotich and his co-accused.
However, the case took a dramatic turn when the new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Renson Mulele Igonga, who was appointed in September 2023, ordered a review of the evidence and charges. The prosecution then failed to call any witnesses, including Munya, who left the courtroom without uttering a word. The prosecution also admitted that it had no questions for Munya, who was the key witness in the case.
The defence team, led by Katwa Kigen, argued that the case against Rotich and his co-accused was brought to court with an ulterior motive and that the state was struggling to call witnesses. They also maintained that the project was legitimate and that the funds were used for the intended purpose. The magistrate agreed with the defence and ruled that the prosecution had not established a prima facie case against the accused. She therefore acquitted them of all the charges and ordered the release of their cash bail and bond terms.