The Court of Appeal has released Sirisia Member of Parliament John Waluke on a Ksh.10 million cash bail awaiting an appeal about his 67-year prison sentence.
This comes after Waluke appealed the jail sentence imposed on him by the High Court late last month, calling it harsh and unjustified.
The legislator was sentenced following a corruption case in which he was charged with stealing Ksh. 313 million from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
Along with Grace Sarapay Wakhungu and Erad Supplies & General Contracts Limited (Erad), a business in which the two are shareholders, the MP was charged.
In 2004, Waluke and Wakhungu were meant to provide 40,000 metric tonnes of corn to NCPB through the company, but instead they kept Ksh. 313 million without providing even a single grain of maize.
However, the tender was canceled because Erad Supplies, a corporation that late businessman Jacob Juma was also a director of, was unable to demonstrate that it had the money to deliver the corn.
Later, the company filed a lawsuit against NCPB, saying that by the time the tender was canceled, it had already acquired the Ethiopian corn and that it was being kept in Djibouti by the South African company Chelsea Freight.
For the purpose of hearing Waluke’s appeal, a three-judge panel comprised of Judges Asike Makhandia, Sankale ole Kantai, and Grace Ngenye was previously assembled.
The MP requested that the Appellate court rule on the question of whether payments made in accordance with court orders resulting from arbitral awards and payments made in accordance with garnishee orders can support a criminal prosecution and conviction through his attorney Elisha Zebedee.
In court documents, the MP also requests that the judges decide whether a director of a company in the position he held—for which there is no evidence on file that he was involved in the day-to-day operations of the company or was involved in the transactions—is criminally culpable for a transaction in which he never took part.
Serving a portion of the jail term on behalf of the Erad Supplies company places a hardship on Waluke and Grace Wakhungu at the Industrial Area and Lang’ata Women’s Prison.
If the High Court and Magistrates Court had the authority to condemn him to serve the sentences on behalf of the business, Waluke asks the Court of Appeal to rule on that issue.
However, Waluke’s application for bail was rejected by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), which was led by Alexander Muteti and Victor Awiti, on the grounds that it was hopeless.
“Applicant was properly convicted and sentenced and is therefore, until the impugned decision is overturned, serving a lawful sentence emanating from a concurrent finding of the subordinate court and the superior court,” Muteti told the court.
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