A proper analysis of the sentence handed to Sirisia Member of Parliament John Waluke reveals that he will have to pay more than Sh1 billion to escape a 52-year jail term.
Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma’s sentence also effectively ended Walukhe’s tenure as a legislator after she ordered that her verdict be handed to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who will, in turn, declare the Sirisia parliamentary seat vacant.
Waluke will pay Sh726 million as fine. He will also shoulder Sh313 million, which is half the amount the court fined Erad Supplies & General Contractors Ltd. Waluke and co-accused Grace Wakhungu were co-directors of Erad. The third director, Jacob Juma, was murdered in May 2016.
In her sentencing, the magistrate observed that Waluke and Wakhungu took advantage of hungry Kenyans to mint money.
“The offences are serious and the accused persons took advantage out 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 court also paved way for the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to go after the two convicts’ assets to recoup the Sh297 million that it lost.
Efforts by Waluke and Wakhungu to have the sentence suspended were rejected by the court, which held that it had concluded its work on the matter and any issue on its judgement could only be handled at the High Court on appeal.
Waluke put up a spirited fight to ensure he did not end up in prison garb, also known as kunguru, waiting for his sunset days without the warmth of his two wives and the joy sparked by seeing his grandchildren grow into responsible citizens.
His lawyers said he was a grandfather of four. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji through Senior Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti, urged the court to consider that the public had lost a huge amount of money to Waluke, Wakhungu and Erad.
Mr Muteti urged the court to apply the law requiring that a person convicted for graft should be fined three times the amount stolen. In his mind, the DPP was looking at a fine of at least Sh900 million and 10 years behind bars.Determined to take the fight to Waluke and Wakhungu, the prosecution also told the court that the two should forfeit their assets to the State.