|Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka when he appeared before Kisumu Chief Magistrate Lucy Gitari January 13, 2014. [PHOTO: COLLINS ODUOR/STANDARD]|
BY KEVINE OMOLLO
KISUMU, KENYA: Kitutu Chache South Member of Parliament Richard Onyonka has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the public of Sh21, 250,628.
In an event which occurred on April 23, 2008, Chief Magistrate Lucy Gitari read that the legislature conspired to commit an economic crime contrary to Section 317 of the Penal Code.
The charge sheet stated that the MP conspired to fraudulently acquire the said cash in a sugar purchase from Chemelil Sugar Company together with a colleague who was not before the court.
The charge sheet further stated that the transaction in which the MP purported that the Kitutu Chache Constituency Development Fund had lawfully withheld the said amount for tax remittance caused the Company to sell sugar at a price less value.
In the second charge he is accused of abuse of office by conferring benefit of the said amount to James George Siro on his capacity as the patron of the constituency’s CDF.
Dressed in a grey suit, Onyonka who sat composed at the dock, pleaded not guilty to both the charges.
State Lawyer Douglas Ogoti’s prayer for the court to impose strict terms on the accused bore fruits as Gitari slapped the legislature with a cash bail of Sh5 million, pending the hearing of the cases on April 1, 2 and 3 this year.
“I understand that the accused is a public figure and he has other duties to perform but I request the court to understand that the magnitude of this case requires some amount of commitment from the accused to give it dear attention,” Ogoti said amid silence from the packed courtroom.
Onyonka who is the second MP in the current parliament to be charged with a criminal offence was forced to stay in court for over half an hour as his family members and four lawyers led by Lead Counsel Richard Onsongo looked for the cash.
Gitari directed the prosecution to furnish the accused with all the documents which will be relied on in the prosecution within 21 days.
In the case, the prosecution is to rely on 53 witnesses in support of its case against the legislator.