Former kakamega senator Boni Khalwale has claimed that Sirisia Member of Parliament John Waluke has been jailed for enjoying the benefits of a lawful court order.
Taking to his official twitter account a day after the sentencing of the lawmaker and his co-accused, Khalwale argued that the arbitration court ordered the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to pay Waluke the Sh 297 million for breach of contract for supply of maize.
Khalwale further argues that the NCPB unsuccessfully challenged the order in both the High and Appeal Courts.
“Arbitratuon Court ordered NCPB to pay Hon Waluke Sh 297 million for breach of contract for supply of maize.NCPB unsuccessfully challenged this in both the High & Appeal Courts. Waluke has been jailed for enjoying the benefit of a lawful court order! System Ya Majambazi,” he tweeted.
Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi has also faulted the historic graft ruling in the case involving the Sirisia MP and his co-accused Grace Wakhungu.
Taking to his official twitter account on Friday morning, Havi termed Waluke and Wakhungu’s conviction as fraudulent.
According to Havi, Waluke and Grace Wakhungu contracted with the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). In this case, Havi says, NCBP breached the contract.
He says the arbitrator ordered the payment and the award was enforced by the High Court. While justifying that the accused people committed no crime, Havi noted that NCPB lost before High Court and Court of Appeal and paid the decree.
“John Waluke and Grace Wakhungu contracted with NCPB. NCBP breached the contract. Arbitrator ordered payment. Award was enforced by High Court. NCPB lost before High Court and Court of Appeal and paid the decree. How can that be a crime? Do not celebrate fraudulent convictions,” he tweeted.
Waluke and his co-accused will pay a fine of close to Sh2 billion or serve at least 39 years in prison after they were found guilty of defrauding the state agency.
While sentencing the two, Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma said the offences they committed were serious. She added that the two and their company took advantage of a dire situation in the country, as Kenya faced a drought, to defraud the NCPB.
The magistrate said there were aspects in the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA) that are mandatory and the court had no option but to pass sentence as prescribed in the law.
But where the court has discretion, Ms Juma said she would exercise it judiciously. On the first count of uttering a false document, the court directed Ms Wakhungu to pay a fine of Sh100,000 or serve one year in prison.
Grace Wakhungu and MP John Waluke in Court on Thursday June 25, 2020. PHOTO/COURTESY
She was further directed to pay another fine of Sh100m for purgery or serve another year in jail.
Both the convicts and the company were directed to pay a fine of Sh626 million each or serve seven year in jail for receiving fraudulent payment from NCPB.
Waluke will pay Sh726 million for his sins. He will also shoulder Sh313 million, which is half the amount the court fined Erad Supplies & General Contractors Ltd. Waluke and and his accomplice Grace Wakhungu were co-directors of Erad.He, however, has a right of appeal.
The court also paved way for the NCPB to go after the two convicts’ assets to recoup Sh297 million that it lost.