TOUR COMPANY APPEALS TO BE REMOVED FROM GUILTY VERDICT
Information from Nairobi indicates that Maniago Safaris has filed an appeal against being named in the guilty verdict, under which three former Kenyan tourism officals were sentenced to several years in jail and given hefty fines on top of the custodial sentence. Former company executive Duncan Muriuki was jailed for 7 years for his part in the fraudulent scheme which also saw the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Rebecca Nabutola and former KTB DEO Dr. Achieng Ong’ong’a convicted for the part they played in misappropriating public funds. With the company name however in the limelight and constant mention vis a vis Duncan Muriuki’s role in the scam, it is a mystery why it took this long to seek the exclusion of the company’s name from the suit and proceedings, which by opinion of a legal source in Nairobi comes far too late, though not too late in the eye of the law: ‘The appeal is still within the legal provisions of the judgment being delivered, so technically it is not time barred. The bigger question is why the company did not immediately stand up and object and ask to have the name stricken from the court records. Maybe the owners realized too late what Muriuki had done but it seems he left the company when the scandal broke. Maybe he resigned, maybe he was asked to step down, maybe he was sacked but what is interesting is that the owners of the company did not immediately put a big separation between themselves and Muriuki. They should have been represented at trial by their own legal team. In fact, why the company’s official and formally registered representatives were not summoned is another interesting question. Waiting for after the verdict will make for quite an argument in law and I am sure the question of the delayed action will be raised, perhaps by court, perhaps by the prosecution. Do they have a chance to succeed? That depends on demonstrating to court that they had nothing to do with what Muriuki schemed up at the time, perhaps he was misusing the position he held a the time, which could be another case. If he was sacked when the scandal broke, that might help to show the company and owners really had nothing to do with his criminal behaviour’.
From all indications and findings, having closely followed the case from the moment Dr. Achieng was suspended by the KTB Board of Directors and the case being filed by the prosecution, it appears almost certain that the owners of Maniago Safaris had no clue what Muriuki was up to. Since then Muriuki rose to added ‘fame’ when filing a case against the Baobab Resort at Diani Beach for alleged racist behaviour and keeping him off the resort premises. Following the guilty verdict at least some are now suggesting that this might have been a planned and provoked incident aimed to extract a settlement from the resort management in some fashion, though other sources have opposed that suggestion. Watch this space as there is surely going to be another twist in the tail of this long ongoing saga.