Azimio, Raila suffer big blow as Sirisia MP Walukhe jailed for 67 years or fined Sh1bn after losing appeal

Sirisia MP John Walukhe in court

By MN Reporter

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has suffered a major blow after a legilslator under his wing is facing a jail term after losing a corruption appeal in court.

Sirisia MP John Waluke lost a court appeal in Sh297m NCPB fraud case after High Court Judge Esther Maina ordered him to pay Sh1b fine or serve 67 years in jail after he was found guilty earlier.

Maina said that the prosecution proved its case against him as charges were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the sentencing is not excessive because it is within the law.

The Jubilee Party MP is in his third term after being re-elected in the August General Election when he got 16,461 votes, followed by Nasiuma Wafula of UDA with 8,811 votes and Moses Nandalwe of ODM (3,521).

Waluke first entered parliament on an ODM ticket in 2013, before defecting to Jubilee in the 2017 elections, when he successfully defended his seat.

In his appeal, termed as inconsistency and a lack of independence in reaching the guilty verdict which he also claimed aas based on an incorrect charge sheet.

He also claimed that critical witnesses were never called to testify in the two-year-old case and that the anti-corruption court failed the impartiality and independence test, claiming that politics played a role in the conviction and sentencing.

He and others were accused of  defrauding the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Ksh.313 million.

The MP was charged alongside Grace Sarapay Wakhungu, and Erad Supplies & General Contracts Limited (Erad); a company where the two are shareholders.

Waluke and Wakhungu, through the company, were supposed to supply 40,000 metric tonnes of maize to NCPB in 2004 but ended up pocketing Ksh.313 million without supplying even a single grain of maize.

The tender was however cancelled after Erad Supplies, a company in which the late businessman Jacob Juma was also a director, failed to prove it had sufficient funds to supply the maize.

The company later moved to court and sued NCPB claiming that by the time the tender was being cancelled, it already had the maize procured from Ethiopia and that it was being stored by Chelsea Freight, a South African firm, in Djibouti.

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