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ELECTION 2022

Mombasa magistrate donates cash for couple charged with stealing flour

COAST
By Kelvin Karani | May 12th 2022 | 3 min read
Saumu Ali in court as the orderly collects donations from those who were present. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A Mombasa court halted its proceedings briefly to donate cash to help a couple that pleaded guilty to the charges of stealing a bale of wheat flour.

Saumu Ali, a mother of two and Evans Odhiambo her husband had been arrested and charged with stealing the bale of flour valued at Sh1,980, the property of Grain Industries Limited.

The couple pleaded guilty to the offense on grounds that it would enable them put food on the table for their two children who were hungry back at home.

But before sentencing the couple, Resident Magistrate Vincent Adet asked those who were present in court to donate something small for their sake.

It is a gesture that saw the magistrate receive praises on social media, with ODM party leader Raila Odinga posting on his Twitter account that Azimio's top priority will be to lower the cost of living.

"I commend Mombasa Magistrate, Vincent Adet who on humanitarian grounds set free a couple who admitted guilt to charges of stealing a bale of flour due to hunger and for fundraising for them," Raila tweeted.

Senior Resident Magistrate Vincent Adet while asking court users to donate something small to help Saumu Ali, who was charged alongside her husband Evans Odhiambo for stealing one bale of wheat flour valued at Sh 1,980. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

In Mombasa, Saumu told the court that she was helping in offloading a truck in Shimanzi area and later her husband carried one bale, but she did not know that her husband was stealing and asked the court to forgive her.

Odhiambo during his submission told the court the harsh economic times had hit them hard and the children were hungry with nothing to eat.

He however asked the court to forgive them.

The magistrate upon reviewing the probation report presented in court pitied the couple, before asking other court users to show some humanity and donate the little they had to help the accused persons.

“After examining the report before me, I pity the situation of the accused persons especially Saumu who is the mother of two children.  I have considered the circumstances under which the offense was committed. I sympathise especially with the first accused person (Saumu) whose children are currently living with her friend. I ask the court users to donate something small, and I will start by giving out my donation,” Adet said amid cheers.

He added, “I am of the view that let's buy her a bale of wheat flour and some meat for today.”

Adet donated Sh1,000 before directing the court orderly to collect donations from those who had attended the seasion. The donations were handed over to Saumu.

According to the charge sheet, the couple had been charged with stealing contrary to section 268 (1) as read with section 275 of the penal code.

Saumu and her husband were however slapped with a six-month non-custodial sentence.

According to the probation report, the couple lived in the streets and picks on causal jobs within Shimanzi area.

Saumu’s report stated that she fell victim to circumstances in the matter as on the said day, she only helped her husband offload the said truck and was not aware that the bale was a stolen item.

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