The Anti-Corruption Court yesterday ordered former director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) Davy Koech to be escorted to prison to start his six-year jail term after failing to pay a fine of Ksh 19.6 million for corruptly acquiring public funds.
While issuing the order senior principal magistrate Victor Wakumile said that Koech who was convicted and sentenced had been given more time from September, 15, 2021 to October 14, 2021, to pay the fine or go to jail, but he has failed to comply with court orders.
“Having given Koech more time to pay the fine in two tranches of Ksh 9.6 million to avoid going to jail, he has not complied with orders. I therefore order him to start his jail term from today,” the magistrate ruled.
On September 15, 2021, while invoking article 29 of the Constitution, Wakumile had said that Koech is now 70 years old and cannot be subjected to “cruel treatment” by being handed over to prison authorities.
“Because of the current Covid-19 pandemic this court takes judicial notice of the difficult economic times people are undergoing through I find it fit to exercise my discretion and show mercy to Koech, who is now 70,” Wakumile said in his judgement.
Wakulime also noted that the law requires a court to show mercy and compassion while passing a sentence.
The magistrate said Koech had returned the malaria research money he had acquired corruptly to the government with interest.
“Therefore, no loss was suffered,” Wakumile ruled.
Koech was convicted and sentenced on three counts of acquiring public property.
He was charged that on August 17, 2006, in Nairobi he fraudulently acquired Ksh 800, 000 in the property of Kemri.
On December 12, 2006, he was convicted of irregularly acquiring Ksh 6 million.
He was also charged with corruptly acquiring Ksh12.5million from the research institution.
The alternative counts were that he used his office to corruptly confer to himself monies held in the account of Vector Biological and Control Research (VBCR).
The magistrate said the Economic and Anti-Corruption Act (Aceca) requires offenders to be punished to serve as a lesson to would-be offenders.
In all the three counts and their alternatives, he was ordered to pay the mandatory fine of Ksh100,000 or serve a jail term of 12 months.
The sentences were to run consecutively, which means each offence and fine was independent.