Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang seeks out of court settlement in Sh269 million fake laptop case
The trial of the Sh269 million fake laptop contract case involving the office of Deputy President has taken a new turn with Trans-Nzoia Senator Allan Kiprotich Chesang opting to settle it out of court.
Defence lawyers led by Thomas Maosa told the court Chesang and his co-accused wish to pay the proprietor of Makindu Motors Limited (MML) Musyoki Ngei the money he used for the supply of 2,800 laptops in 2018.
Ngei paid Sh269,360,000 for the laptops on learning they had been requisitioned by the Office of the Deputy President, which was occupied by President William Ruto at the time.
The charge sheet states the accused are alleged to have defrauded MML Sh180 million.
“We wish to inform this court that the parties involved in this case intend to settle this matter out of court,” Mr Maosa told the trial magistrate Mr Onyina.
The defence lawyer told the magistrate, the Constitution encourages alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Mr Maosa said they have talked to the lawyer for Makindu Motors Limited (MML), which is the leading distributor and retailer of Motorcycles aka Boda Boda, which have subsidized means of transport countrywide.
“We seek the courts’ indulgence to discuss an out-of-court settlement,” the magistrate was urged.
In the case, Chesang is charged alongside Teddy Awiti, Kevin Matundura Nyongesa, Augustine Wambua Matata, Joy Wangari Kamau, James William Makokha alias Wanyonyi, and Johan Ochieng Osore.
They have denied that they conspired to defraud Makindu Motors of 2,800 laptops worth Ksh180 million in a fake tender at the office of then-Deputy President William Ruto on August 12, 2018.
Onyina heard the tender for the laptops was signed in the office of the then-DP.
Following the new development, Mr Onyina directed the lawyers to file a report on September 21, 2023 outlining the mode of payment.
The accused who are out on bond denied the charges filed against them.
A star witness Solomon Muema David told the magistrate, that the contract to supply the computers was between his company Nduso Investment Limited, and the Office of the Deputy President.
Muema told Onyina he (Muema) and Charles Kamolo signed the contract document tabled in court on behalf of Makindu Motors owner Musyoki Ngei while two persons namely Mrs Muhoro and James William Makokha alias Wanyonyi signed on behalf of the office of Deputy President.
Muema told the magistrate that after the contract was signed they delivered the entire consignment amounting to 2,800 laptops worth over Ksh269 million to alleged representatives of Ruto.
Testifying in the case against Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Kiprotich Chesang and six others, Muema further told Onyina they were conned 2,800 laptops by persons who claimed to be acting on behalf of Ruto
The witness named the persons who posed as representatives of the Office of Deputy President in the whole transaction as Ms Muhoro, Wanyonyi, and their point man one Mr Kiptoo.
Wanyonyi is accused of a conspiracy to defraud Makindu Motors the multi-million laptops project.
The 2,800 laptops that were received by the agents of then-Deputy President Ruto were allegedly meant for distribution to schools.
The then-Jubilee government in which Ruto was the Deputy President had promised to supply laptops to all primary schools in Kenya, a promise that remained a mirage to date.
Muema said all the deliveries of the 2,800 HP laptops were made at the Treasury Building and escorted by uniformed police officers where Ms Muhoro had introduced herself as the officer in charge of procurement business at the office of the Deputy President.
The witnesses said that Muhoro received the first two deliveries at her third-floor office at office of the DP by appending a government stamp on the delivery notes.
The laptops were delivered in three tranches and were sourced and paid for by the proprietor of Makindu Motors, a company that sells motorbikes in the country.
Muema told the magistrate that when they got the government tender they brought on board Ngei to finance the tender because he had the financial power.
“Ngei paid for the 2,800 laptops at once with Sh269,360,000,” Onyina heard.
To qualify for the tender Muhoro demanded a bribe of Ksh500,000 which Muema and Kamolo paid in cash.
“We met Muhoro at Karen Hotel where she requested Ksh500,000 as money for the clerks at the office of the Deputy President, who were to work out the tender documents, ” Muema told the court.
Led in his evidence in chief by state prosecutor Anderson Gikunda, Muema told the magistrate that he packed all the laptops from godowns in Eastleigh at Eye Link and then delivered them to Muhoro.
The court heard that the delivery notes of the last consignment were delivered to Muhoro at a petrol station near Ruto’s office at Karen.
“After loading 699 laptops in a truck Muhoro requested him to take the delivery notes to her at Shell Petrol station in Karen since she had been assigned some duties at the Deputy President’s office,” Muema said.
At the petrol station, Muema said that he handed over the delivery notes to Ms Muhoro who did not endorse a receipt stamp on his copy saying she had left her stamp at the office of the DP.
Testifying on oath, Muema said that the agents of Ruto hosted a party for them at Ole Sereni Hotel along Mombasa Road to appreciate a job well done.
“The agents called me and Charles Kamolo at Ole Sereni Hotel to thank us for delivering the 2,800 laptops to them,” Muema told Onyina.
During the party discussions on the mode of payment for the laptops and Ruto’s agent said they will hurriedly to ensure they were paid the entire amount aptly.
To their utter surprise, the three alleged Ruto agents switched off their phones and went under.
The proprietor of Makindu Motors Ngei called Muema when the payment of Ksh180 million was delayed by a week and said he feared they were conned.
Muema said Ngei instructed them with Kamolo to report the matter at Athi River Police station.
“When we went to report we were detained in cells with police telling us we are the key suspects in the laptop scam when we mentioned the Office of the Deputy President,” Muema told Onyina.
The star witnesses told the magistrate they were detained for seven days during which period they told police to office of the president where the contract was signed.
The police also recovered some of the laptops from Muhoro and Kiptoo residences in Athi River.
Gikunda asked the witnesses whether they were ever paid the Ksh180 million to which he replied in the negative.
“So you were conned,” Gikunda asked the witness.
“Yes, we were conned. Since July 2018 to date we have never received the money and have not heard from Ruto’s agents on the payment,” Muema said.
The seven accused persons are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud, making a document without authority, obtaining goods by false pretenses, handling stolen goods, and abuse of abuse.
The prosecution alleges that Chesang and his co-accused conspired to defraud Makindu Motors of 2,800 laptops worth Ksh180 million in a fake tender at the office of the then-Deputy President William Ruto on August 12, 2018.
The accused have denied the charges and are out on bond.