Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and 16 others walked free on Wednesday after acquittal in a high-profile corruption case.
Milimani Court Magistrate Eunice Nyutu ruled that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain the charges of conspiracy to embezzle Sh357 million from the Nairobi county government.
"After careful consideration of the testimony of six witnesses, the evidence adduced is inadequate to sustain the charges levelled against the accused persons," Nyutu declared.
The Magistrate found the prosecution's case riddled with weaknesses, criticizing them for calling only six witnesses, with the key witness dragging on for over a year.
Delays further hampered the process, with the trial starting in 2021 after postponements due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nyutu's frustrations extended beyond the weak case, taking aim at the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for repeated adjournment requests.
"It's tragic that a prosecution can lose sight of a case," she stated.
"The conduct by prosecution in this case reeks of neglect of duty."
The Magistrate argued that the prosecution's negligence undermined public interest and good governance.
She urged Parliament to establish regulations holding prosecutors accountable for their handling of public cases.
Notably, the trial itself proceeded in camera to protect witnesses under special protection.
Sonko's acquittal marks a dramatic turn in the long-running saga.
While the verdict brings relief to the former Governor and his co-accused, questions linger about the prosecution's handling of the case and the broader implications for accountability in public corruption investigations.