Lawyer denies setting up Kemsa official for one million shilling bribe

Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), Industrial Estate, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A lawyer has denied appointing a lawyer to the Kenya Medical Suppliers Authority (Kemsa) by secretly registering him while soliciting a one million shilling bribe.

Titus Barasa Makhanu instead accused Kemsa official Evans Cheruiyot of being captive to his own mistakes which led to the secret recording as he demanded a bribe to approve payments for legal services offered at the state agency.

“It is true that I recorded him demanding a bribe of Sh1,000,000 before authorizing payment of our unpaid legal fees. What he does not know is that during the recording, I was authorized and assisted by EACC and not in a private capacity as he claims,” Makhanu said.

Makhanu, in his affidavit, swore he met Cheruiyot in June 2021 in a formal meeting at Kemsa’s offices about his pending unpaid legal fees and never at any time coerced the lawyer about the payments .

He argued that since Cheruiyot was Kemsa’s legal counsel, he was the one he could contact about outstanding charges and that all follow-up conversations were about work assignments.

“He was the one who asked me for the Sh1,000,000 bribe and constantly demanded a meeting between us, which led to my complaint to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and at the later check-in when he came to collect his bonus,” Makhanu said.

He argued that Cheruiyot should not complain about the way evidence linking him to corruption was collected since the Supreme Court gave the EACC the power to obtain evidence by any means available.

Mr Makhanu also denied Cheruiyot’s claims that they were classmates at Moi University law school between 2006 and 2010, but admitted he was at the same institution during the same period.

“It’s true that I was a law school student between 2006 and 2010 but I don’t remember being in the same class as him. It was during the period when my law firm was hired by Kemsa that I met him and he informed me that we were classmates at Moi University,” Makhanu said.

Mr. Makhanu filed the affidavit in response to a complaint by Mr. Cheruiyot to prevent the EACC from investigating and charging him over the lawyer’s secret recordings.

Cheruiyot, in his lawsuit, claimed that Makhanu was his classmate and that because of this knowledge; he has always ensured that the legal instructions entrusted to him receive the required attention and are carried out in the best interest of Kemsa.

Due to the closeness, Cheruiyot alleged, Makhanu continued to call and text him between June and September 2021 to inquire about the agency’s plans to secure legal services for some upcoming court cases.

He said he agreed for them to meet and discuss the matter, but unbeknownst to him, Makhanu had secret gadgets to record their conversation in audio and video format which he then forwarded to the EACC for investigate him for soliciting a bribe.

But Makhanu, in his response, claimed the allegations were lies aimed at misleading the court so that it could prevent the EACC from investigating the corruption allegations.

“He is so hypocritical and not authentic in his allegations. His petition to stop the investigation is nothing more than an afterthought to save his own neck upon realizing his goose is cooked. He would have reported me to his bosses if he thought I was pushing him,” Makhanu said.

He wants the court to dismiss the motion and allow the EACC to complete its investigations.

Lady Justice Esther Maina ordered the parties to file submissions within seven days and scheduled the hearing for December 1.

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