IEBC helps Waluke clear integrity hurdle – The Standard

The Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday gave convicted Sirisia MP John Waluke a through pass to defend his parliamentary seat.
Mr Waluke joins scores of other impeached politicians facing an array of charges raging from murder, rape, fraud and forgery seeking to represent their constituents and manage their resources, who have also been given the green light to contest in the General Election.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said they will not bar leaders who have been impeached, convicted or are facing criminal charges as long as they have not exhausted all the legal appeals. On the other hand Chief Justice Martha Koome is of the view that convicted and impeached politicians should be treated as such as long as the verdict has not been overturned.

Mr Waluke was imprisoned on June 22, 2020 alongside his business partner Grace Wakhungu by the Anti-Corruption Court after they were found guilty of fraud and illegal acquisition of Sh297 million through shady deals at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). The police leveled the fraud charges against the duo on allegations that the award was based on forged papers. Ms Wakhungu was sentenced to 69 years in jail with an option of Sh1 billion fine and Mr Waluke was handed a 67-year sentence with Sh1 billion fine.
Speaking after getting clearance certificate the MP said he had disapproved doubting Thomases who were eager to see him vilified by the electoral agency.

“My enemies have been going round claiming that I will not be on ballot. I have now disapproved them by getting this certificate,” he said.
The Sirisia lawmaker said he was ready to face off with the opponents who had been peddling lies about him. He argued that he was cleared courtesy of the 2010 Constitution without specifying which section.
This as Chief Justice Martha Koome and Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji have maintained that impeached governors and convicted politicians should be barred from holding public offices until their names and verdicts are cleared and upended by the court.

“I thank the IEBC for not falling to intimidation and threats from certain quarters that wanted me out of the race,” he said. “IEBC has now proved that it’s an independent body which cannot be manipulated by anyone.”

Chief Justice Martha Koome. [File, Standard]

Isaac Ruto the IEBC officer who issued the certificate to Mr Waluke called on him and other candidates to adhere to the IEBC code of ethics during the campaigns or risk being disqualified. The Commission also cleared Busia Governor, Sospeter Ojaamong to contest the Teso South MP seat on an ODM ticket on Monday. This comes even as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) arrested and arraigned the governor on July 4, 2018 over graft.
EACC sleuths arraigned the governor in the Milimani Anti-Corruption Law Courts together with County Executive Officers (CECs) Bernard Yaite, Finance chief officer, Allan Ekweny and Treasury head Samuel Ombui. The governor and his co-accused faced seven counts of corruption-related charges, that include abuse of office, engaging in a project without proper planning and approving payments whereas he did not have the authority and willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of funds.
According to the prosecution, the governor on diverse dates between March 15, 2014 and September 25, 2014 conspired to commit an economic crime by engaging in a scheme to defraud the county government of Sh8 million by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding for a feasibility study on solid waste management to be carried out by Madam R. Enterprises Ltd. Mr Ojaamong denied the charges and the case is still ongoing. Mr Ojaamong submitted his nomination papers to Amukura IEBC Returning Officer, Carol Okki Monday morning for clearance.
In March the governor failed in a bid to convince the court to rule that his case was a mistrial over claims that the prosecution had threatened his witnesses.

“Our number one agenda is economic liberation of our people. We need to put our heads together so that we revamp the construction industries to create jobs for our youth,” he said as he waved his IEBC certificate.
At the same time, Keroche Breweries Limited CEO Tabitha Karanja was yesterday cleared by IEBC to vie for Nakuru Senate seat on UDA ticket. In August 2019 Keroche was charged with 10 counts of tax evasion amounting to Sh14 billion. According to the charges, Ms Karanja and her husband Joseph Karanja committed the offences between January 2015 and June 2019. The prosecution alleged that the Keroche Breweries owners unlawfully made incorrect statements of their excise duty returns which in turn reduced their company’s tax liability by Sh1.8 billion.
They also faced a second count of making incorrect excise tax amounting to Sh3.1 billion while other charges stated that the brewer’s excise duty books were incorrect to the tune of Sh3.6 billion and that they failed to pay taxes on their produced beer brands totaling Sh7 billion. The matter is still pending in court.

Keroche Breweries Limited CEO Tabitha Karanja. She was cleared by IEBC to contest the Nakuru senate seat. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Also cleared was Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi to defend his seat on UDA ticket. He was charged in October 2016 with three counts of forging academic certificates while seeking clearance from the IEBC to contest in the March 4, 2013 General Election. According to the charge sheet, the MP forged his diploma in business management allegedly issued by the Kenya Institute of Management as well as a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education qualification reportedly issued by Highway High School. He was also charged with giving false information to IEBC officers and for misleading Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission officials who were investigating the matter when he allegedly made a false declaration under oath through a self-declaration form.​
Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter was on Monday cleared to defend his seat as an independent candidate after he was controversially elbowed out by UDA and ticked handed to Bernard Kitur. Mr Keter is facing forgery case before the Milimani Court in Nairobi. The legislator alongside two co-directors of Desai Industries – Madat Chatur and Arthur Sakwa were charged with forging treasury bills amounting to Sh633 million. The three were arrested and charged on February 2018 and later released on an Sh2 million cash bail each after they denied charges.
The case is set to proceed to full hearing for five days from August 16. Meru Senator Mithika Linturi is expected to present his papers to IEBC seeking clearance to vie for governor seat later this week. He is facing charges of attempting to rape a middle-aged woman on January 30, 2021, in Nanyuki. The legislator has denied the charges, which also include committing an indecent act with an adult. Linturi maintains the charges are politically motivated, a claim the offices of the  DPP and DCI deny.
At the Coast, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa is expected to present her nomination papers to the IEBC on Saturday although she is battling two cases in Court. Ms Jumwa who is eyeing the Kilifi governor seat on UDA ticket, and her bodyguard, Geoffrey Okuto are accused of killing Ngumbao Jola on October 15. She is also facing graft charges, alongside Kennedy Otieno Ojwang, Robert Katana Wanje, Wachu Omar Abdalla, Margret Faith Kalume, Benard Riba Kai and Sophia Said Charo. They are accused of embezzlement of Sh19 million from the Malindi Constituency Development Funds.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Disorderly behaviour
On April 11, Mombasa Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku directed the case to commence from August 15 to 19. This is after Jumwa’s lawyers applied to have the case to be heard after the August 9, elections to allow her to campaign for the Kilifi governor seat.  And in Nairobi, Babu Owino, the Embakasi East lawmaker is facing disorderly behaviour charges in court after another charge on attempted murder was dropped.
The attempted murder charge was dropped after the complainant DJ evolve filed an application to have the matter withdrawn. According to Milimani magistrate Bernard Ochoi the MP is still facing the charge which was instituted by the State and can only be withdrawn by the DPP. Nandi Governor Stephen Sang who is defending his seat is battling charges of malicious damage to property at the Kisumu Law Courts. The legal battle that kicked off in 2019 is yet to be concluded.
At the same time, impeached Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who is also facing corruption allegations related to abuse of office and bribery is contesting the Mombasa gubernatorial seat, but IEBC has been stopped from clearing him until petitions are concluded. Sonko is also charged in three cases at the Anti-Corruption Court in Milimani, Nairobi. Sonko is also fighting accusations of abuse of office, making irregular payments, improperly conferring a benefit to himself and conspiring to commit an offense of corruption.

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