An accomplice of lawyer Paul Gicheru threatened to kill a witness in the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto at the ICC, the court heard on Tuesday.
The second prosecution witness (P034) said Person Number 19 threatened to kill him if he told ICC investigators details of their meetings.
“He once threatened that ‘I will kill you if you reveal anything we are discussing’,” P034 told the court.
The witness said Gicheru accompanied Person Number 19 to some of the meetings.
“He used to give me money many times during our meetings at Location 5. Person Number 19 did not come alone. He came with someone else. That person was Gicheru,” he said.
Gicheru is facing eight charges of interfering with witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
The case was dismissed in 2016 over insufficient evidence.
The prosecution believes Gicheru committed offences against the administration of justice in order to undermine the case against the duo.
Gicheru has pleaded not guilty before presiding judge Miatta Maria Samba.
On Tuesday, P034 said Person Number 19 used to ask about other witnesses during their encounters.
“He asked me several times about Person Number 9 and other people whose names I cannot see on my list,” he said.
“He asked me if Person Number 38 could be a witness. He also asked me whether Person Number 38 was meeting with ‘white people’.”
P034 told the court that Person Number 19 wanted these people to withdraw from being ICC witnesses.
“He asked me because I shared the same ideology with them and he thought I was influential to convince them to withdraw from the case,” he said.
The witness said Person Number 19 would use the term ‘us’ most of the time because he was close to and working on behalf of a ‘big man’.
Cross-examining the witness, Gicheru’s lawyer Michael G Karnavas said P034 indicated that he had received more than Sh2 million paid in instalments over time.
He said the witness claimed that with the first instalment, he opened a bank account and deposited money periodically, the cash being either from Gicheru or Person Number 19.
“How do we know the money came from Gicheru and not your relatives?” Karnavas asked.
P034 said he communicated with Gicheru many times and could not understand why the defence team did not believe it.
“I am suggesting that we do not have records to confirm but I am not saying it is your fault. We just have the names and logs but we do not see any communication,” Karnavas explained.
The court heard that the second witness signed an agreement with Gicheru and Person Number 19 to withdraw from the ICC as a witness.
The agreement was typed in English and was read to the witness by Person Number 19. He also signed a handwritten agreement at a later date.
“He came with a handwritten agreement after they feared that I was communicating with ICC officers,” P034 said.
Karnavas asked why the witness continued to receive money yet he was not abiding by the agreement.
The witness said they suspected him after he met with Person Number 1 in person and had a conversation
“I had contact with Person Number 1 who was a representative of the victims of the post-election violence at the ICC,” the witness said.
He said he remembered signing an agreement to be removed as a witness but the document was left with Gicheru and he did not have a copy.
“You are simply asking us to take your word,” Karnavas said.