Grace Wakhungu, one of the convicts in the Sh 297 million maize scandal has filed an application at the high court seeking to be released on bail pending the hearing and determination of her appeal.
Through her lawyer Paul Muite, Wakhungu is also seeking the court to issue an order directing the officer-in-charge Langata Women’s Prison to acquire a government geriatric and psychiatrist in the presence of her representative doctor to examine her and file a report within a reasonable time on her physical and mental health.
“If the appellant’s condition is not professionally assessed and the appellant be released on bond during the pendency of the appeal, her physical and mental health stand a risk of permanent deteriorating which cannot be remedied by any relief,” said Muite .
Muite told the court that the appeal has overwhelming chances of success for the reasons that the trial court convicted the appellant in the absence of mens rea imputable to her.
He added that due to the medical conditions of 79 year old Wakhungu , there is likelihood that she has not been in a proper mental state, let alone the physical one and may have been unable to stand trial and understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings as contemplated.
“The trial court imposed an unlawful or harsh sentence guided by extraneous considerations,” Muite added.
Muite further submitted that during the trial, Wakhungu displayed traits such as difficulty in concentrating, anxiety, long-lasting sadness and other signs of inferior mental health.
In the appeal, Wakhungu argues that trial Magistrate Elizabeth Juma convicted her in spite of failure of a material witnesses to testify having disallowed an application by the director of public prosecution to bring an extra witnesses to rebut the defense.
“There is an apparent absence of proof of the prosecution’s case on all counts beyond reasonable doubt and burden of proof was shifted from the prosecution to the accused persons in the criminal trial,” said Muite.
According to the applicant, conviction and sentencing of the appellant for an offence of uttering was made in the absence of evidence of a forensic document examiner, in a case where it was claimed that an invoice had been uttered and she was punished for an offense for which the third accused has been punished amounting to double jeopardy.
Justice John Onyiego certified the application urgent and directed it to be served within five days.
Wakhungu and her co-accused Sirisia MP John Walukhe were going guilty and could face over 60 years in prison if they do not pay Sh 700 million fine.