MP Waluke surrenders to police, to serve his 67-year jail term

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 7 Oct, 2022 16:34 | 2 mins read
John Waluke and Grace Wakhung
Ms Grace Wakhungu and Sirisia MP John Waluke during their sentencing for fraud on June 25, 2020. PHOTO/Sheila Mutua

Sirisia MP John Waluke has finally surrendered to the authorities after his sentencing was upheld by the High Court. The embattled lawmaker was escorted by officers to the cells at the Milimani Law Courts awaiting his imprisonment.

The Jubilee lawmaker will now serve a 67-year jail term slapped on him after the High Court declined to set aside his conviction.

In her judgment, Justice Esther Maina of the Anti-Corruption, High Court Division in Nairobi said that the sentence imposed by the lower court on Waluke and business partner Grace Wakhungu was not excessive and dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.

"I find that the sentences were not excessive. They are within the law. Therefore the conviction and sentences are affirmed," the judge ruled.

The decision comes after the MP and Wakhungu challenged a decision by a Magistrates court that convicted them of fraudulently acquiring Ksh313 million from the National Cereals Produce Board (NCPB) in 2014.

While upholding the conviction, the judge noted that the Director of Public Prosecution Nordin Haji proved the Ksh313 million corruption charges against Waluke beyond a reasonable doubt.

During the appeal hearing in July, Waluke through lawyer Elisha Ongoya told Justice Maina that the Ksh313 million payout was lawful after an arbitrator ruled in favour of their company -Erad Supplies Limited.

"The monies were paid out of court orders. The money was paid following the due process of the law. The payment was made pursuant to an arbitration award," Elisha said.

The State agency had breached a contract for the supply of maize which resulted in the arbitrator making an award of Ksh313 million on account of loss of profit and storage costs due to Erad.

The decision was challenged at the High Court but no order was granted to set aside the award. The matter is now currently pending at the Court of Appeal.

Ongoya told Justice Maina that Anti-Corruption Magistrate Elizabeth Juma ignored the fact that the payments were made pursuant to a court directive.

In her verdict, Magistrate Juma had ruled that both Waluke and Wakhungu pay a fine of over Ksh1 billion or in default serve the lengthy custodial sentence, which Justice Maina has concurred with.

Juma had directed Waluke to pay a Ksh726 million personal fine. He was to also shoulder Ksh313 million, which is half the amount the court fined his company Erad Supplies & General Contractors Ltd.

Waluke and Wakhungu were the two company directors after the third director Jacob Juma was murdered in 2016.

In the sentence that badly indicted Waluke’s moral standing, the magistrate found that the two suspects had taken advantage of millions of hungry Kenyans to mint money, and allowed NCPB to also go after the duo’s assets to recover the lost money.

“The offences are serious and the accused persons took advantage of a dire situation where Kenyans were faced with hunger and maize was required to save Kenyans from starvation. It, therefore, calls for a deterrence sentence,” she said.

The prosecution brought fraud charges against the two on allegations that the award was based on forged documents. But the two argued that it was never identified whether that invoice was an original or fake.

"It was incumbent upon the prosecution and the investigating officer to investigate the issue of the invoice because the officer never produced what was in his opinion an original invoice to counter the same," they argued.

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