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Sirisia MP, former CS Wakhungu’s mother found guilty in maize scam case

Sirisia MP John Waluke will spend three nights at Kileleshwa Police Station as he waits for his sentencing on Thursday after he was found guilty in a Sh297 million maize scandal case.

Also found guilty in the same case is Grace Wakhungu, who is the mother of  former Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu.

FALSE PRETENCES

In a ruling delivered on Monday, Magistrate Elizabeth Juma stated that the prosecution in the case had provided enough evidence warranting a guilty charge.

“The court found that there was a fraud and the accused obtaining money by false pretences,” the magistrate ruled.

Waluke was however acquitted on two counts of altering documents by false pretence.

The MP will lose his parliamentary seat if he is sentenced to more than six months in jail.

Article 22 (2) (g) of the Constitution provides that a person is disqualified from being elected a Member of Parliament if they are subject to imprisonment for at least six months if found to have misused or abused a State office or public office.

FRAUD AND FORGERY

The MP had in 2018 been charged with three counts of fraudulent acquisition of public properties and forgery.

The prosecutor submitted that on February 24, 2009, Waluke, who was the director of Erad Supplies and General Contracts Limited, knowingly presented a false invoice for Sh114.6million to be used as evidence.

He was also accused of fraudulently acquiring public property.

Judge Mumbi Ngugi declined to stop the prosecution, saying events overtook the orders sought by Waluke, Wakhungu and Erad Supplies and General Contractors Ltd.

In the charges, the three are accused of receiving the money on March 19, 2013, as the cost of storage of 40,000 metric tonnes of white maize that was to be supplied to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

NOT GUILTY PLEA

The MP pleaded not guilty in August 2018 and applied for conservatory orders to stop NCPB, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Magistrate’s Court from proceeding with the trial, pending the hearing of the application. But the court rejected his application on January 30, 2020.

Consequently, the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee conducted an inquiry into the contract, the arbitral award and the execution.

Waluke moved to the High Court to quash recommendations by the National Assembly Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) made in October 2013.

A report recommending the investigation of Waluke and Wakhungu was made to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The EACC was asked to investigate their alleged fraudulent acquisition of public property and whether or not they uttered false documents to tender for maize at the NCPB.