Sirisia MP, John Waluke, and his co-accused Grace Wakhungu, suffered a blow after three Court of Appeal judges allowed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to introduce new evidence in their ongoing case.
The evidence was obtained from a South African company that Waluke and Wakhungu claimed they used to import 40,000 tonnes of maize 19 years ago and an invoice for payment of Ksh.297 million from the National Cereals And Produce Board (NCPB).
Justices Hannah Okwengu, John Mativo and Weldon Korir delivered a significant ruling that may alter the proceeding of the case.
In their ruling, the three judges ruled that an application filed by the commission through its investigator, Kipsang Sambai, had met the criteria for admission of additional evidence by an Appellate court.
Sirisia MP John Waluke and Grace Wakhungu in court in June 2020
Fundamentally, this is the evidence used to convict Waluke and Wakhungu but has reportedly never been filed in the separate ongoing civil case at the High Court and now at the Court of Appeal.
In the civil case that has been pending since 2012, NCPB and EACC seek to set aside the arbitral award of Ksh564 million made to a private company and subsequently confirmed by the High Court requiring NCPB to pay the money.
EACC says documents used by the firm, whose directors are Waluke and Wakhungu, to obtain a first phase payment of Ksh.297 million from NCPB were forgeries and did not emanate from another firm, as contested by the two offenders.
In her June 2020 judgment, Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma ordered Waluke and Wakhungu, as directors of the accused company, to pay back the Ksh.297 million they had received.
Wakhungu and Waluke had reportedly secured an award of payment through an arbitration process approved by the High Court but contested by NCPB, in a case pending at the Appellate court since 2012.
President William Ruto and Sirisia MP John Waluke at a past event in Bungoma County.
This is another setback in their attempt to win back their freedom, hampering Waluke’s efforts to claim more than Ksh.300 million from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for services offered.
The court had ordered them to pay more than Ksh.1 billion in fines or serve lengthy jail terms.
Recently, the Sirisia lawmaker pleaded with President William Ruto to help him secure freedom. At the Kakamega State Lodge on December 8, where Ruto was meeting leaders from the Luhya community, Waluke stated that former President Uhuru Kenyatta promised he would help him be free, but reneged on the pledge.
“Uhuru promised to help me secure freedom. However, he later said his hands were tied, and that he had tried everything possible, but the judges refused to listen to his pleas.
“You (Ruto) are now the Head of State, and I believe you are in a great position to help me secure freedom. Please use your position to rescue me,” Waluke pleaded.