A Nairobi court has acquitted five businessmen charged with the offense of malicious damage to property.
The five among them Politician George Jonathan Maara, John Peter Kamau, James Gichere Mburu,John Maina Waithera and Stephen Muiruri had been dragged to court over a prime land dispute by Isaac Maina Wandere.
The prosecution said that on March 13, 2016, at Wonder joy Party World Limited, Ridgeways in Nairobi within Nairobi County, willfully and unlawfully, they damaged the perimeter wall, live fence, four (4) steel gates all valued at Sh 20 million.
This being the property of Wandire.
Maara had been charged in another count with the offense of misuse of firearms contrary to section 34(1) of the Firearms Act, 2002.
The prosecution had alleged that on similar dates and places, being a licensed firearm holder, he had used his firearm namely CEZKA Pistol Serial No. B064351 and threatened to shoot Rimon Lientikei and Richard Mutisya who were guarding the premises.
It has been noted that high ranking police officers had interest in the case.
This forced the concerned authorities to transfer the file to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Headquarters from Muthaiga Police Station.
“The prosecution failed to provide enough proof that the destruction or damage was caused by the accused and proof that the destruction was willful and unlawful,” ruled Magistrate Martha Mutuku while acquitting them.
She added that there is neither nil evidence the 1st Accused uttered any threatening words nor fired his pistol to sustain the offence of threatening to kill.
The five who were being represented by Lawyer Mwenda Njagi and Kiraithe Wandugi had in their submissions said for the prosecution to establish a case to answer against the accused, it must prove the ownership of the property and whether the property was destroyed or damaged.
“It is our humble submission that for an offense of malicious damage to stand, the complainant must be the registered owner of the property alleged to be destroyed,” Lawyer Njagi said.
The accused had submitted that the Prosecution did not establish that the complainant is the registered owner of the suit property alleged to have been destroyed by the Accused persons.
Neither did they establish the ownership of the damaged goods.
“There were no receipts to show that the complainant had purchased or owned the fence alleged to have been destroyed,” they added.
Njagi had submitted that the Complainant’s alleged entitlement to the suit property was based on Temporary Occupation License of 25 years which had not been registered with the Registrar of Documents to have “the force of law”.
They added that the Prosecution did not present the alleged tools of destruction.
They said that The Motor Vehicle alleged to have pulled down the fence was not presented to the court.
Other tools of crime like machetes were not presented to the Court.
“These crucial materials of evidence were not presented because they did not exist in the first place. There was no destruction of the alleged wall,” added Njagi.
During the hearing of the case, former DCI boss Ndegwa Muhoro said he did not influence the arrest of George Jonathan Maara and Peter John Kamau Ruhangi over a property dispute in Kiambu county.
An officer investigating malicious damage to the Sh20 million property belonging to Isaac Maina said all suspects were charged after clearance by the DPP.
Joseph Mucheru, a detective from the Directorate of the Criminal Investigation’s office, made the remarks during cross-examination by defense lawyer Kiraithe Wandungi.
“I equally find the valuation report of the alleged destroyed property was excessively exaggerated; indeed it was not a Court sanctioned valuation as submitted by Defense Counsel” – Ruled Magistrate Martha Mutuku.