Wakhungu seeks to be grated bail pending appeal in NCPB maize scam case

Businesswoman Grace Wakhungu and Sirisia MP John Walukhe in court at a past date. Photo/People Daily

Businesswoman Grace Wakhungu has moved to Court of Appeal seeking to be released on bail or bond pending the determination of their appeal. 

Wakhungu and Sirisia MP John Walukhe were found guilty and convicted over the Sh 313 NCPB maize scandal. 

The two appealed the trial court’s decision at the High Court but they lost as the court upheld their sentences.

Wakhungu was sentenced to 69 years in prison with an option to pay Sh 1 billion fine while Walukhe was sentenced to 67 years in prison with an option to pay Sh 1 billion fine too.

Through her lawyer Paul Muite, Wakhungu 82, said that her health is deteriorating while in prison.

The court heard that she is pre-diabetic, a Covid-19 survivor with residual symptoms and has a history of asthma.

Muite said that his client was on 12th October taken ill and admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital for blood pressure and other related ailments.

Wakhungu claims that the appeal has overwhelming chances of success because High Court Judge Esther Maina found that the case had been established beyond reasonable doubt notwithstanding that a key witness had admittedly not been interrogated and another key witness had written his statement but failed to testify.

Appropriate sentences

In her judgement, Justice Maina found that the sentences were not excessive but within the law.

Wakhungu argued that the judge’s finding that the invoice presented by Walukhe was forged yet there was no report of a forensic document examiner to substantiate the same.

She argued that the Judge failed to subject the evidence on record to a fresh and exhaustive re-evaluation, analysis and re-assessment and to draw her own conclusions.

“Instead, she considered the prosecution’s case in isolation thereby taking a very narrow and constricted view of evidence on record,” the court heard.

Wakhungu also questioned whether the court determined if the late businessman Jacob Juma was an official of the company under section 23 of the penal code and if he received Sh113 million from the total of money paid to the company before the trial court.

Wakhungu and Walukhe who are the directors of Erad Suppliers were found guilty of several charges ranging from uttering false documents and unlawful acquisition of public property.