Sirisia MP John Waluke and the mother of Former Environment CS Judi Wakhungu, Grace Sarapay Wakhungu appeared in court on Thursday, June 25 for sentencing after being found guilty of fraud in a Ksh313 million maize scandal.
Appearing before Magistrate Elizabeth Juma, the accused stated their cases for lenient sentences.
Waluke was represented by Lawyers Evans Ondieki, Samson Nyamberi, Cliff Ombeta and Dunstan Omari while Assistant Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Alexander Muteti, Gitonga Riungu, and Mercy Gateru represented the state in the matter.
The prosecution argued for the court to give a custodial sentence because of the proportionality of offence just like any accused person.
The lawyers further stated that the funds fraudulently paid out to MP and the co-accused meant for food security and offences be treated with the seriousness they deserve.Sirisia MP John Waluke, and Grace Wakhungu in court on Thursday, June 25.
"Every person should be accountable for their actions. Given the amounts involved, the sentence given should act as a deterrence," Gitonga Riungu stated.
The prosecution further observed that the MP was physically fit and his health should not matter as documents presented by the defence in relation to MP health were all for 2017.
"The current state which shows not in bad health. The court should not be persuaded by defence submission that MP will lose his seat if given a custodial sentence. The issue of John Waluke losing his Parliamentary seat shouldn't be a consideration. There are so many people in Sirisia who are qualified to be Members of Parliament," Muteti stated.
Lawyer Danstan Omari stated that the MP was worth some special recognition as he had served the country as a military man.
"Before you is a celebrated war veteran, in other jurisdictions war veterans who fought in the army are accorded special consideration. He (John Waluke) evaded bullets and guns to protect this nation. He is before you harmless, crying for mercy.
"Waluke saved the late President Moi in the 1982 coup. When his time comes for a eulogy to be read, it will be said that he saved the head of state from an impending coup in 1982," Omari stated.
Lawyer Sam Nyaberi argued that the MP was a candidate for non-custodial sentencing from his track record as a Member of Parliament.
"The accused person is a husband to two wives who are dependant on the MP. He is a father and grandfather. Apart from family responsibilities, he is supporting orphans within Sirisia," he told the court.
Lawyer Cliff Ombeta added that the court proceedings had mentally affected the MP as he was completely beaten down.
"The conviction has deflated Waluke. Confidence is no longer there. He is a broken man. He has accepted the findings but wants to plead with you to exercise your mercy. He has regretted that these events came to pass. Look at him with mercy," Ombeta stated.
Wakhungu through her lawyer, Duncan Okubasu expressed remorse for her actions and pleaded for the judge's leniency in her sentence asking for a non-custodial sentence and fine.
"The first accused has been convicted of 5 counts and this mitigation relates to the proper sentence that we are of the view should be imposed. The court should opt for sentences that are likely to promote rehabilitation.
"The court should consider a shorter sentence. It should consider the age of the person convicted. In consideration that she is ailing, she is asking for time for high blood pressure treatment. Lastly consider the character of the accused person as this is her first encounter with the criminal justice system," Okubasu told the court.Grace Wakhungu (Left), Sirisia MP John Waluke (Centre) and Lawyer Duncan Okubasu (standing) in court on June 25, 2020.
The lawyer further stated that the accused had spent her life in public service rising to be the first woman to head a parastatal.
"We are convinced that the court should impose a fine of 100,000 for each of the two offences. For the other counts, we are asking for a lenient fine," he stated.
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