Help me out of jail, Waluke pleads with Ruto in corruption sentence

Sirisia Member of Parliament John Waluke. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Sirisia Member of Parliament (MP) John Waluke has pleaded with President William Ruto to help him secure freedom after he was sent to jail for 67 years over Sh297 million cereals fraud.

The magistrate’s court in June 2020 sentenced Waluke to 67 years in jail or pay Sh1 billion fine for the fraud committed alongside Grace Wakhungu in 2004.

The convicts appealed against the decision at the High Court.

In October 2022, the High Court upheld the lower court’s sentencing of the two, saying the prosecution had produced sufficient evidence implicating the duo.

Waluke and Wakhungu, however, challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal.

The lawmaker is now out on Sh10 million cash bail.

Waluke grabbed the opportunity on Thursday, December 8, to plead with President Ruto to help him secure freedom. Ruto is in Western Kenya for a two-day tour.

Speaking at the Kakamega State Lodge, where Ruto was meeting leaders from the Luhya community, Waluke said a former influential leader said he’d help him be free, but reneged on the pledge.

“The leader (name withheld for legal reasons) said he’d 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 told President Ruto.

In 2004, Waluke and Wakhungu, who owned Erad Supplies and General Contracts Limited, were paid Sh297 million by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in what was later discovered to be a fraudulent payment.

The charges against them stated that being directors of Erad Suppliers, they presented a false invoice of $1,146,000 (Sh115,072,725) on February 24, 2009, as evidence in the arbitration dispute between Erad Supplies and the NCPB.

There is no any extra-judicial means that the president can use to help Waluke out of the sentencing except for presidential pardon.

A presidential pardon is the granting of forgiveness by the president to an individual sentenced to jail for crime.

While a pardon results in an opportunity for the individual to avoid punishment for the crime, it does not necessarily erase guilt. If the president believes the person should not receive punishment for the crime, he or she may grant a pardon.