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Court rejects MP Julius Ndegwa’s request to suspend plea

Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa’s application not to plead to charges of obtaining Sh4 million by false pretense has been rejected by the High Court.

Justice Dora Chepkwony turned down the application and directed Mr Ndegwa to plead to the charges on Monday.

Judge Chepkwony said no prejudice will be suffered by the accused should he plead to the 10 charges he faces.

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Through his lawyers, the MP wanted the plea taking suspended, pending hearing of an application in which he is seeking to have the case against him transferred to Lamu for trial and determination.

“Plea taking by the accused will reduce the entire application to an academic exercise. It is only fair, just and reasonable the process awaits the outcome of this case,” his lawyer Jared Magolo argued.

Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti opposed the application.

“For a stay to be issued, the court must be satisfied there are sufficient grounds,” Mr Muteti said.

The lawmaker’s request is based on the grounds that the alleged offences are said to have been committed in Lamu, where he resides.

He argued that all relevant witnesses also reside and have businesses in Lamu.

“It will cause great inconvenience and hardship to the applicant and his witnesses if the suit was to be heard in Mombasa,” the application read.

Mr Ndegwa believes that the chief magistrate’s court in Mombasa does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine the case because the alleged crime took place in Lamu where there is a court that can determine it.

INTENT TO DEFRAUD

In his affidavit, the MP said in November 2015 he was accused by his political opponents of forging Mr Omar Kola Barisa’s signature on a power of attorney, which was allegedly used to acquire four acres of land that were subsequently sold.

He further said the Land Fraud Investigation Unit was investigating the matter and no communication had been relayed to him.

According to the charge sheet filed in court, the MP has been accused of obtaining money from Mr Yusuf Abasheikh by falsely pretending that he was in a position to give him a valid Power of Attorney from Omar Kola Barisa to sell a parcel of land on Barisa’s behalf.

It is alleged he committed the crime on February 27, 2013 in Lamu town.

The MP is also accused of making a document without authority and uttering a false document.

The prosecution has also preferred seven charges of issuing a bad cheque against the accused.

Justice Chepkwony directed the prosecution to file its response to the application within three days, which is scheduled to be heard on March 24.

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Court rejects MP Julius Ndegwa’s request to suspend plea