Jacob Juma firm risks losing Sh500m in alleged forgery
More than a quarter billion shillings due to a firm associated with slain businessman Jacob Juma is at stake after it emerged the company used forged court documents to win compensation from the government.
The anti-graft agency, EACC, reckons that Erad General Supplies, where Mr Juma served as the managing director until his death last year, tabled fake court documents in its case against the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
BOTCHED MAIZE SUPPLY
The company is claiming Sh264.8 million from the board and had initially pocketed Sh312.8 million from a claim they won through arbitration for a botched maize supply scheme.
The company’s directors include Sirisia MP John Waluke and Grace Sarapay.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has backed the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission for the prosecution of the directors.
“On December 23, 2016, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) concurred with the recommendation for prosecution save for directions that further investigations with a view to strengthening the case be done before suspects are charged in court,” the EACC says in a Kenya Gazette notice dated March 31.
This sets Erad’s executives up for jail terms after the anti-graft agency last October asked the DPP, Keriako Tobiko, to prosecute them.
The notice did not reveal the names of the officials.
Erad sued after the cereals agency cancelled the tender to supply 40,000 tonnes maize of maize.
The company argued in court that it stands to be compensated since it incurred heavy losses in storage costs for the grain it had ordered from outside Kenya and for foregone profit.
It won the case in the High Court, entitling it to a Sh577 million compensation, despite failure to supply even a single grain in the saga that dates back to 2004.
The cereals board paid the initial Sh312.8 million to Mr Juma’s company while the remaining Sh264.8 million awaited a ruling by the Court of Appeal after the board appealed.
“The investigations established that to get a favourable outcome at the arbitration, some officials of Erad Supplies and General Contracts Ltd had used false documents,” the EACC says, adding that the offences are punishable under the penal code and the Economic Crimes Act.
This puts at risk the Sh264 million pay.
Erad sought to recover the remaining cash through sale of NCPB’s immovable assets like silos and land but the appellate court stopped the action, saving the board from a financial meltdown.
The maize tender saga dates back to August 2004 when the cereals board contracted Mr Juma’s firm to supply 40,000 metric tonnes of maize to replenish the national strategic grain reserve during a drought period.
The board, however, soon cancelled the contract after Erad failed to deliver the consignment within the four weeks the supply was expected.
This prompted Mr Juma, who was murdered last year in Nairobi by unknown assailants, to sue, claiming that the NCPB failed to issue them with a Letter of Credit as a financial guarantee to its suppliers.