By Eric Winston/Guest Writer

An application by former Principal Secretary for Devolution Peter Mangiti seeking to stop his prosecution has been dismissed at the anti-corruption court.

Judge Hedwig Ong’udi said that the application lacked merit and that Peter Mangiti had failed to demonstrate to the court that he was deserving of the orders to stop his prosecution for graft at the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

Mangiti is facing corruption charges at the chief magistrate’s court (anti-corruption court) together with 23 others over the award of a tender to Blue Star Ltd while at National Youth Service, NYS.

Go through Mangiti’s documents

The judge noted that it was not the mandate of a judicial review court to go through Mangiti’s documents and allegations and evaluate them to find out that he should not have been charged.

“It was the duty of the ex parte applicant (Peter Mangiti) to demonstrate to this court that he is deserving of the judicial review orders sought… my finding is that he has failed in that duty,” judge Ong’udi said.

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He had argued that the charges of conspiring to commit an economic crime and abuse of office preferred against him were based on misinterpretation of the law on public procurement. He opined that the decision to charge him was arrived at without proper directions as to the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.

Tendering process

Mangiti through his lawyer Ms Guserwa said that the charges were illegal and irrational, as he was not directly involved in the tendering process.

He reiterated that his role as the principal secretary in the procurement process was limited to appointing the Ministerial Tendering Committee and signing of the contract of the award of the tender.

Ms Guserwa also submitted that Mangiti’s right to fair hearing had been violated as he did not know what the case against him was about and therefore could not have a proper opportunity to defend himself.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, however argued that Mangiti had failed in his duty of ensuring that all the processes and procedures of procurement were adhered to.

The DPP said there was non-compliance with the three requirements for restricted tendering as everything had been done on the same day.

Restricted tendering

The prosecution also said that Blue Star Enterprises was not a specialized firm in the supply of materials for it to benefit from a restricted tendering.

Mr Fredrick Ashimosi, for the DPP, said that the court had received and independently analyzed the evidence against Mangiti and found it plausible for him to be charged.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, who joined the application as an interested party, said that the Tendering Committee had been appointed three days after the tender had been awarded to Blue Star Enterprises.

The commission further said that the company had not been on the list of bidders and that the procurement was neither planned nor budgeted for.

Active steps

Mr Waundo, acting for EACC, stated that Mangiti either took active steps to further the aims of the conspiracy or was willfully ignorant of the existence of the conspiracy which is by itself evidence of conspiracy.

“Mangiti reported alleged tendering irregularities to EACC because he knew of its mandate,” the judge said in his ruling, “He has not demonstrated how it acted ultra vires its powers while carrying out the investigations… the mere fact that he made the report did not mean he was insulated from investigations.”

“As an accounting officer, the action of placing his signature on the contract signified that he was satisfied that the procedures had been complied with. He cannot run away from that,” judge Ong’udi said.

Ong’udi also stated that there was no demonstration by Mangiti showing that the DPP and EACC had acted without jurisdiction.