Economy

EACC cited for bribery in former CS’s mother fraud suit

Summary

  • In an appeal to be heard this week, Ms Wakhungu through her lawyers claim that Mr Leon Maynard, a director at Chelsea Freight, was induced with a stipend to testify against them.
  • Mr Maynard was procured from Durban, South Africa and in his testimony, he admitted that besides an air ticket and accommodation, EACC paid a stipend and gave him security.
  • Ms Wakhungu reckons that the payments, which were not revealed during the trial, was motive enough to fix her and Mr Waluke.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been accused of bribing a South African witness who helped nail Sirisia MP John Waluke and his co-director Grace Wakhungu over a fraudulent maize dealings worth Sh297 million.

In an appeal to be heard this week, Ms Wakhungu through her lawyers claim that Mr Leon Maynard, a director at Chelsea Freight, was induced with a stipend to testify against them.

Mr Maynard was procured from Durban, South Africa and in his testimony, he admitted that besides an air ticket and accommodation, EACC paid a stipend and gave him security.

Ms Wakhungu reckons that the payments, which were not revealed during the trial, was motive enough to fix her and Mr Waluke.

Ms Wakhungu is the mother of former Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu.

Mr Waluke and Ms Wakhungu were each jailed for 67 years or pay a fine of Sh1.02 billion for fraud involving Sh297 million in shady maize dealings with National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

Both are listed as directors of Erad General Suppliers, the firm that received the payment.

The two claimed that they incurred losses after a tender to supply 40,000 metric tonnes was canceled, and even presented forged invoices and indicated the grains were stored in a warehouse owned by Chelsea Freight for a period of 123 days.

Mr Maynard said the issuance of all invoices was under his docket and mandate, and maintained that he was not aware of invoice from Erad.

He also denied being involved in any storage businesses, arguing that Chelsea Freight did not receive any money from Erad.

Ms Wakhungu application did not show the amount of cash the EACC committed to Mr Maynard.

“The only witness from the said Chelsea Freight Company was paid by the EACC to testify against the accused,” the application says.

“Over and above the travel and accommodation expenses, the witness admitted to have been paid a stipend who amount we do not know and had enough motive to fix the appellants.”

The 80-year-old woman has pleaded to be released on bond saying she is sickly and in need of medical attention. Ms Wakhungu said she has hypertension and suffers arthritis.

“Her continued imprisonment, notwithstanding her age, medical condition extra-ordinary circumstances of the case and overwhelming chances of success in the appeal is highly prejudicial to her let alone that it cannot be undone by any legal relief,” the application stated.

Ms Wakhungu has accused the court of shifting the burden to her and imposing a harsh sentences against her, guided by extraneous considerations.

Mr Waluke admitted that he was paid Sh50 million from the arbitration award while Ms Wakhungu got Sh40 million.

The rest of the amount were paid to law firms, which represented the firm in various court cases.

The prosecution opposed her release on medical grounds, arguing that the Commissioner General of Prisons ruled that Wakhungu’s condition is stable and can be managed in prisons medical facility.

But Ms Wakhungu through her lawyers said the information was not based on any tests.