ACCUSATIONS DOMINATE ICC HEARING
Kenya: It was a stormy session at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the prosecution locked horns with the Kenya Government over alleged failure to co-operate in the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Office of the Prosecution accused the Government of failing to provide substantial, personal information touching on President Kenyatta, including his business and political associates.
But the Government, led by Attorney General Githu Muigai, rebutted, accusing the prosecution of providing vague requests that could not be acted on.
The highlight was claims by the Government that it could not trace any records indicating that Uhuru owned any land or companies in Kenya. It also could not trace any telephone lines or data owned by or linked to the President in 2007 and 2008.
Uhuru’s defence team members, who were only sideline participants in the proceedings, however railed at the prosecution, accusing it of putting obstacles for the Government to sustain a dead case.
The drama unfolded at a status conference in The Hague, Netherlands, part of which was held in private and two hours of it in open session.
The morning session proceeded without involvement by the defence as the Prosecution and the Government briefed the court on the co-operation.
The prosecution requested information classified under eight specific categories. These are records of companies owned by or associated with President Kenyatta between June 2007 and December 2010, land records, income tax returns, motor vehicles, bank records, foreign exchange, telephone records and intelligence records.
The information had been sought to determine whether the prosecution could proceed or terminate the case after conceding in February that they had no other tangible evidence against Uhuru.
But the prosecution raised issue with the material and answers given by the Government in each of the categories.
In a letter to the court, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu explained that her ministry was in the process of reorganising its operations and had discovered that 1.3 million files were lost, misplaced or misfiled.
She said they had not located any information on land owned by President Kenyatta.
“We have no records at the moment that the person owns land,” the minister explained.
The prosecution had further asked for Uhuru’s income tax and VAT records. The Government responded that there were no VAT records on him but provided his income and tax return records since 1992, which the prosecution said was not the requested information.
The court heard that before 2010, only four vehicles were registered in Uhuru’s name.