Economy

NCPB theft convict Wakhungu seeks release before appeal

wahungu

Businesswoman Grace Sarapy Wakhungu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Grace Wakhungu, who is serving a jail term for stealing Sh313 million from a State agency, has pleaded to be released on bond, pending the hearing and determination of her appeal.
  • In an application filed through Senior Counsel Paul Muite, she said she is 79 years old, sickly and undergoing treatment for hypertension.
  • Mr Muite further said because of her age and her underlying hypertension sickness, there is a likelihood that she has not been in proper mental state, let alone the physical one.

Grace Wakhungu, who is serving a jail term for stealing Sh313 million from a State agency, has pleaded to be released on bond, pending the hearing and determination of her appeal.

In an application filed through Senior Counsel Paul Muite, she said she is 79 years old, sickly and undergoing treatment for hypertension.

Mr Muite further said because of her age and her underlying hypertension sickness, there is a likelihood that she has not been in proper mental state, let alone the physical one.

He added that she may have been unable to stand trial and understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings as contemplated.

During the trial, he added, Ms Wakhungu allegedly displayed traits such as difficulty in concentrating, anxiety, long-lasting sadness and other signs of inferior mental health.

Other than being released pending the hearing of the appeal, he asked the court to direct the officer in charge of Lang’ata Women’s Prison to conduct “geriatric and psychiatrist tests, in the presence of her doctor”.

And after examining her, the doctor should file a report on her physical and mental health. He said if not assessed and released, her physical and mental health might deteriorate permanently.

“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 was sentenced to jail for 69 years after chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma found her guilty of five counts in connection to theft at National Cereals and produce Board (NCPB).

Sirisia MP John Waluke was equally found guilty and he will serve 67 years in prison if he fails to pay more than Sh1 billion in fine.

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