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LSK Chair Nelson Havi Lashes At Historic Sentencing Of MP Waluke As ‘Fraudulent Conviction’

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LSK Chairman, Nelson Havi.

History was made in Kenya on Thursday when a sitting MP caught up in a corruption scandal. Sirisia Member of Parliament (MP) John Koyi Waluke was sentenced to 10 years in prison or pay a fine of Ksh.727 million for defrauding the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Ksh.313 million. He has since lost his seat as a matter of existing laws in the country that prohibits convicted public officials to continue stay in office after conviction.

While many Kenyans celebrated this landmark conviction, the Kenya’s Law Society Chairman, Nelson Havi wasn’t amused and totally dismissed it as a fraudulent conviction. In an angry tweet that has since been deleted, Havi claimed that the suspects had been cleared and insinuated that the conviction had other motives other than justice.

The deleted tweet.

It is however, unsurprising coming from Havi as he was at a point representing the convicts before elevating to the LSK position.

The MP was charged alongside Grace Sarapay Wakhungu, who was also handed a 10-year jail term or pay a fine of Ksh.707 million and Erad Supplies & General Contracts Limited (Erad); a company where the two are shareholders.

Waluke and Wakhungu, through the company, were supposed to supply 40,000 metric tonnes of maize to NCPB in 2004 but ended up pocketing Ksh.313 million without supplying even a single grain of maize.

The tender was however cancelled after Erad Supplies, a company in which the late businessman Jacob Juma was also a director, failed to prove it had sufficient funds to supply the maize.

The company later moved to court and sued NCPB claiming that by the time the tender was being cancelled, it already had the maize procured from Ethiopia and that it was being stored by Chelsea Freight, a South African firm, in Djibouti.

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They claimed that the maize was stored by the South African firm in Djibouti for a period of 123 days for which they were charged USD 1,146,000.00 and that they anticipated profit amounting to USD 1,960,000.

In total the accused demanded compensation of USD 3,106,000.00 as loss of profit and storage charges. Through what is believed to be a fraudulent legal process, the arbitrator awarded Erad USD 3,106,000.00.

NCPB’s efforts to oppose the adoption of the award were unsuccessful and Erad swiftly moved to execute the orders.

NCPB accounts were frozen and through auctioneers, the State agency’s assets including office equipment and motor vehicles were attached leading to loss of over Ksh.310 million among other assets.

In October 2014, in a Mutual Legal Assistance, South African Authorities invited EACC sleuths to accompany its officers in unraveling the matter.

Upon conclusion of the investigations the case file was forwarded to the DPP’s office and the accused persons were arraigned in court in August 2018.

Evidence from South African Authorities demonstrated that the documents used by Waluke and his co-accused purportedly emanating from South African firms were forgeries.

Two directors of M/s Chelsea Freight, which the accused claimed procured and stored the maize for them recorded statements to the effect that they had no dealings with Erad Supplies and that in fact they neither owned any warehouse nor dealt with maize.

The documents in our possession show the Ksh.297 million of the Ksh.313 million was wired out of NCPB’s accounts in a just two days and was shared among the directors and lawyers.

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MP John Waluke was found guilty of three counts including; acquiring public property to wit Ksh.297,386,505.00 contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 and fraudulently acquiring public property to wit, Ksh.13,364,671.40 contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act,2003.

He was also convicted for fraudulently acquiring public property to wit, USD 24,032.00 (Ksh.2,475,295.00) contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

Grace Sarapay Wakhungu, who is the mother of former Environment CS Judi Wakhungu, was convicted on five charges. The counts against her include uttering a false document contrary to Section 353 of the Penal Code by presenting a forged invoice during the arbitration proceedings which led to the arbitral award.

She was also found guilty of Perjury contrary to Section 108 (1) as read with Section 36 of the Penal Code for lying on oath during the arbitral proceedings.

Ms. Wakhungu was also convicted for fraudulently acquiring public property to wit Ksh.297,386,505.00 contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003 and fraudulently acquiring public property to wit, Ksh.13,364,671.40 contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act,2003.

She was also found guilty of fraudulently acquiring public property to wit, USD 24,032.00 (Ksh.2,475,295.00) contrary to Section 45(1) (a) as read with Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

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The MP and his co-accused have 14 days to appeal the ruling.

Additional reporting by Citizen.


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