DPP INTIMIDATION

Wakhungu faults Sh313m conviction, links it to ex-VP Awori

Says she is in court because of a desire by the DPP to be seen as sending big fish to prison

In Summary
  • The company was then awarded damages for breach of contract. The same was confirmed by the High Court.
  • Juma in 2020 convicted the duo after finding them guilty of fraud and illegal acquisition of Sh313 million through shady deals with the NCPB.
Businesswoman Grace Wakhungu and Sirisia MP John Waluke
Businesswoman Grace Wakhungu and Sirisia MP John Waluke
Image: FILE

Grace Wakhungu has told the High Court that the Sh313 million that formed the basis of her conviction was lawfully paid out to her.

Wakhungu through senior counsel Paul Muite said the money was paid following an arbitral award which was confirmed by the High Court against the National Cereals and Produce Board for breach of contract.

Wakhungu together with Sirisia MP John Waluke were the directors of Erad Supplies.

He said the courts are the weakest link in the war against graft and the purpose of DPP was to bully them to convict even where evidence fails.

“Accused are in court because of a desire by the DPP to be seen sending big fish to prison. My client is the sister of former Vice President Moody Awori and it was the reason why she was convicted,” he said.

“This court should send a message that conviction happens only when law and evidence demands so. In the current case, it demands they get released."

The company won a contract to supply the government with maize in 2004. But the company could not supply after NCPB failed to issue a letter of credit thus breaching the contract.

Following the breach, Erad sued NCPB and the dispute was resolved before an arbitrator.

The company was then awarded damages for breach of contract. The same was confirmed by the High Court.

It is on that ground that Wakhungu says such payments cannot form the basis of a criminal charge of obtaining money fraudulently.

“Any system of law that would allow payments made by the High Court to be the basis of criminal charges can only bring disrepute in the eyes of international justice,” Muite said.

Muite told Justice Esther Maina that since there were orders authorising the payments, it was not open for the magistrate's court to reopen the matter.

He said the trial magistrate Elizabeth Juma was bound by the High Court orders.

Juma in 2020 convicted the duo after finding them guilty of fraud and illegal acquisition of Sh313 million through shady deals with the NCPB.

The trial court imposed a combined fine of Sh2 billion. In default, Wakhungu was handed a 39 year sentence while the MP was slapped with 34.

The two being aggrieved, appealed at the High Court.

Muite yesterday asked Justice Maina to take notice of public attacks that the judiciary has gone through from the office of the director of public prosecution.

Muite said the trial court gave in to the intimidation from the state agencies. He asked the court to rectify the error.

(Edited by Tabnacha O)