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Politicians at the mercy of courts barely seven months to polls

By Paul Ogemba | Jan 4th 2022 | 5 min read

Some politicians are facing charges carrying maximum sentences, including death. [File, Standard]

With the August 9 General Election fast approaching, the fate of several politicians eyeing various seats hangs in the balance over pending court cases.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado, who has declared he will run for the presidency on a People Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, leads the pack of those who are at the mercy of courts. They risk being locked out of the polls if found guilty and jailed for the criminal cases they are facing.

Under Article 99 (2) (g) of the Constitution, a person can be disqualified from contesting in the elections if that person is subject to a jail sentence of at least six months as at the date of registration as a candidate or at the date of election.

With the charges they are facing carrying maximum sentences ranging from death to 10 years imprisonment, the politicians are hoping that the cases will be delayed until after the August 9 election.

It will also be a tough time for them juggling the grueling campaign schedules with sitting long hours in court for the hearings.

Obado is facing two cases that could determine his political destiny should he be found guilty in any of the two before the August polls.

In the first case, the governor is facing trial over the murder of his girlfriend Sharon Otieno, which could hand him a maximum death sentence if found guilty.

Obado alongside his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and former Migori County Clerk Caspal Obiero are accused of killing Sharon and her unborn baby on September 3, 2018, at Owade in Oyugis, Rachuonyo sub-county within Homa Bay County.

In the second case, the governor is facing corruption charges in which he is alleged to have conspired with some traders and his four children to defraud the County Government of Migori more than Sh300 million, conflict of interest and theft.

It is another case that could lock out the governor from his quest for the presidency given that he could be jailed for up to 10 years if found guilty.

Garissa Governor Ali Korane, who will be seeking to defend his seat, could also be locked out if found guilty of the eight counts of conspiracy to commit economic crime, failing to comply with laws relating to management of public funds and misappropriation of public funds.

Garissa Governor Ali Korane. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

According to the charge sheet, Korane conspired to commit an economic crime by mismanaging Sh233 million allocated to the county as a conditional grant for the Kenya Urban Support Programme.

He also risks up to 10 years jail sentence or be fined three times the amount said to have been misappropriated in accordance with section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, if found guilty of the charges.

Governor Muthomi Njuki of Tharaka Nithi’s bid for a second term is also in the hands of the courts, with the corruption charges relating to Sh34 million illegal tender award still hanging over his head.

It is the same fate facing former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero who has declared his intention to contest the Homa Bay governorship.

Kidero is facing two separate corruption charges, in the first case it is alleged that he conspired to commit an offence of corruption leading to the loss of Sh213 million from the Nairobi City County while the second case involves another conspiracy to defraud Sh58 million.

For Transport Chief Administration Secretary Chris Obure, the situation is more complicated since he has been found with a case to answer in relation to the multi-billion shilling Anglo-Leasing Scandal and put on his defence.

Obure is eyeing the Kisii governorship but his bid is facing uncertainty occasioned by charges of abuse of office and breach of trust by authorising direct procurement for data network and internet services for Postal Corporation of Kenya when he was the Minister for Finance.

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who has declared his intention to vie again is also at the mercy of the courts, with charges of money laundering in relation to irregular award of Sh588 million contracts for roads repair which could end his political career.

According to the charges, Mr Waititu and his wife Susan Wangari received Sh51 million as kickback from  roads tender through their companies, Saika Two Estate Developers Ltd and Benvenue Delta Hotel.

In the National Assembly, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi’s political career is on the brink of being halted by the courts if found guilty of the charges of forging academic certificate to seek clearance from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The outspoken MP is already in the soup after two institutions he claimed to have attended disowned his certificates as fake and that he neither sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education nor obtained a Diploma in Business Management.

Sudi had stated that he has a diploma from the Kenya Institute of Management ,  but the institution submitted in court that he has never been its student while the Kenya National Examination Council disowned his certificates.

His case is set to resume on January 18 when the investigating officer will take to the stand as the last prosecution’s witness before the trial magistrate issues her verdict.

Sirisia MP John Waluke, who was already convicted and sentenced to cumulative 67 years in jail, has all his hopes of seeking re-election pegged on the outcome of his appeal.

Waluke is out of jail on a cash bail of Sh10 million pending determination of the appeal.

The MP was found guilty for defrauding the government Sh297 million through the maize importation scandal.

Also on the chopping board is Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa who is facing charges of conspiracy to commit fraud through payment of Sh19 million to a company in relation to a contract awarded by the National Government Constituency Development Fund.

The MP is facing another serious offence of murder, with a possible death penalty if found guilty.

She is accused of killing Ngumbao Jola on October 15, 2019, at Ganda Ward within Kilifi County.

Jumwa is facing other charges of conflict of interest, acquisition of proceeds of crime and money laundering.

Bonchari MP Pavel Oimeke’s short stint in Parliament could end if found guilty of the bribery charges he is facing before the anti-corruption court in Nairobi.

Oimeke is accused of soliciting and receiving Sh200,000 bribe to authorise the opening a filling station in Oyugis town when he was the Director-General of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

Pavel Oimeke is accused of soliciting and receiving Sh200,000 bribe to authorise the opening a filling station in Oyugis town. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua may have got a reprieve after the hearing of his corruption case over conspiracy to defraud Sh7.5 billion was pushed to September 5.

Gachagua is facing six counts of conspiracy to commit economic crimes.

Although outgoing Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and his Busia counterpart Sospeter Ojaamong have not stated whether they will seek any elective positions, they are also facing corruption cases.

The same goes for former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has not declared interest in any seat in the forthcoming election.

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