BY WAHOME THUKU
There are strong arguments that all victims of crimes, especially those involving property, should always be compensated with perpetrators’ resources, whenever those responsible are convicted.
In international crimes, restitution is highly considered to ensure that victims of heinous crimes are paid back in kind, from resources recovered from convicted criminals.
But even under international criminal law, restitution only involves property directly acquired as benefit from crimes under which one has been convicted.
Sometime in 2009, a man was charged in Nairobi with five counts of fraudulently obtaining Sh1.7 million from five people pretending he was in a position to buy them vehicles.
The victims include Francis Mukundi (Sh520,000), Felix Mwathi (Sh170,000), Charles Ameyo (Sh340,000), Henry Mwangangi (Sh370,000) and Roy Muganda (Sh320,000).
After prosecution had tendered evidence, the man was put on his defence. He gave sworn evidence and admitted having received the monies but added that he had remitted it to car dealer Prime Motors and bought a vehicle.
On December 31, 2010, the magistrate court convicted and sentenced him to pay a fine of Sh550,000 and in default to serve five-and-a-half years in jail. In the judgement, the magistrate acknowledged that the accused had fraudulently obtained the money.
Forfeited to State
The court also accepted the evidence that he had spent Sh1.3 million of the money to buy a motor vehicle for his own use.
After sentencing the man, the magistrate ordered that the motor vehicle be forfeited to State. That did not go well with the five complainants who wanted the vehicle released to them.