- The magistrate allowed the scientist to pay the fine in two installments due to his medical condition.
- 'This is a court of mercy and also a court of law, we do not want to take a 70-year-old to jail.'
Former Kenya Medical Research Institute director Davy Koech was on Monday fined Sh19.6 million after he was found guilty of fraudulently acquiring Sh19.3 million from the institute.
Koech's sentence was read out by Milimani Anti-Corruption Court senior principal magistrate Victor Wakumile after the prosecution proved its case.
The magistrate allowed the scientist to pay the fine in two installments due to his medical condition.
“This is a court of mercy and also a court of law, we do not want to take a 70-year-old to jail,” Wakumile said.
Koech, who was charged 11 years ago, was convicted of three counts of fraudulently acquiring Sh19.6 million from Kemri.
The charge sheet showed he improperly conferred a benefit upon himself by transferring money belonging to the institute's account at Standard Chartered Bank Ltd, Kisumu branch to account held at Standard Chartered Bank, Yaya Centre, Nairobi branch in the name of African Medical Services Trust that was controlled and operated by himself.
The prosecution had claimed that using his office, he transferred Sh800,000 from Kemri account to his account on August, 16, and 2006.
He also fraudulently acquired another Sh6 million from the institute by transferring it to his account on December 4, 2006.
Koech was also found guilty of fraudulently acquiring another Sh12.5 million which belonged to the research institute on December 13, 2006.
He was handed the fine after asking the court for leniency, arguing that he was ailing.
After the sentencing, his lawyer pleaded with the court to allow him to pay the fine in instalments for five months.
The prosecution however objected to the application arguing that the monies in question belonged to a public institute and at the time of committing the offense, the money was not taken in instalments.
The prosecution also argued that the money was not a loan taken out of Kemri and that the law does not allow a convicted person to pay in installment.
“Section 336 (4) of the Criminal Procedure Code is only applicable to matters of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code,” the prosecution said.
Article 27 provides that all persons must be treated equally before the law and in the particular case, Koech was requesting preferential treatment before the court that they are allowed to pay the fine in installments.
“We, therefore, will be praying the accused person does pay the fine in full, failing which let him be committed to jail till the time he is able to pay the amount in full,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecution further argued that the court meted out a fine of Sh19.6 million which is not in conformity with Section 48 (2) of ACECA.
The court heard that the fine was equal to the amount stolen, which was against the quantifiable benefit.
The magistrate, however, stood by his sentencing and only allowed the scientist two months to pay the fine.
“The first installment should be paid on October 14 and the second instalment on November 15. I expect final payment by then and I hereby suspend the sentence until the payment,” the magistrate ruled.
Edited by P.O