The fate of Sirisia Member of Parliament (MP) John Waluke hangs in the balance after the court ordered him to pay Ksh1 billion or spend 67 years in jail.
In the order issued by High Court Judge Esther Maina on Thursday, October 6, she dismissed Waluke's appeal contesting a ruling where he was sentenced in over a Ksh297 million scandal involving the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
Justice Maina upheld the ruling delivered by Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma, stating that the prosecution had proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Waluke took part in the NCPB fraud.
Should the lawmaker fail to pay the fine, he will lose his seat and a subsequent by-election will be held to replace him.
According to Article 99 (2) (g) of the Constitution, a lawmaker is liable to lose the seat if he or she is subjected to imprisonment of at least six months.
Notably, this only applies if the MP in question has exhausted all appeal avenues including moving to the Supreme Court.
On June 20, Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma sentenced Waluke to 67 years and his co-accused Grace Wakhungu to 69 years after finding them guilty of committing fraud.
The two are surviving directors of Erad Supplies and General Contractors - a company accused of engaging in a shady deal involving the supply of white maize to NCPB in which the parastatal lost Ksh297 million.
In addition, the company was accused of fraudulently acquiring property worth Ksh13.3 million. Consequently, the Chief Magistrate directed Waluke to pay a Ksh726 million personal fine.
In addition, he would shoulder half of the Ksh616 million fine charged to the company. Juma explained that the hefty fines were to set an example for individuals who would rather risk the lives of Kenyans to pursue personal interests.
“The offenses are serious and the accused persons took advantage of a dire situation where Kenyans were faced with hunger and maize was required to save Kenyans from starvation. It, therefore, calls for a deterrence sentence,” she ruled.
Waluke, who is serving his fourth term as lawmaker, is currently out on bond.