A former manager at Water Resources Management Authority is the latest casualty of corruption purge after being sentenced to 24 years in jail for soliciting and receiving Sh910,000 bribe.
Anti-corruption court senior principal magistrate Eunice Nyutu convicted James Omondi Ambuso, who was the finance and administration manager at WRMA, to the lengthy jail sentence.
She said this will serve as an example to other public officers who use their positions to enrich themselves through corruption.
“He was a public officer with a duty to safeguard public resources but he did the opposite and used public resources to benefit himself. His actions must be frowned upon and a message sent to the public that use of public resources for public enrichment shall not be tolerated,” ruled Nyutu.
The magistrate however gave Ambuso the option of paying a fine of Sh7.6 million for his corruption sins of soliciting and receiving bribes from the water authorities’ regional managers to facilitate the release and disbursement of government funds allocated to the regions.
According to the magistrate, the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ambuso used to coerce the authorities’ regional managers to send him the money failure to which he would refuse to approve the money allocated to the regions.
“The court was shown money transactions through his mobile phone which originated from the complainants who were his regional managers. The evidence connected him to the bribery claim and he did not provide any evidence to prove otherwise,” ruled Nyutu.
The magistrate found that witnesses had personally called them to instruct them to send the money which was corroborated by the M-Pesa money transaction received in his number.
Nyutu found Ambuso guilty in four counts of corruptly soliciting for a benefit and corruptly receiving a bribe. He was however acquitted in four other counts of abuse of office.
The first count of the charges stated that between May 14, 2012, and February 11, 2013, being the authority’s finance and administration manager solicited a bribe of Sh445,000 from Geoffrey Mworia as an inducement to release funds.
The court ruled that there was proof Ambuso solicited the funds from Mworia to facilitate continuous disbursement of operation and development funds to the WRMA, Mombasa regional office.
The prosecution’s case was that they could not understand how a person employed in the government would solicit for benefit from another public servant to disburse government funds meant for helping conserve water resources in the country.
For that corrupt practice in count one, the magistrate handed him a 3-year jail sentence or a fine of Sh1 million.
“He will also pay a mandatory fine double the amount he received which is Sh890,000 failure to which he will serve an additional three years in jail,” ruled Nyutu.
In the second count, the court was convinced that Ambuso received the Sh445,000 through one Patrick Masaku and convicted him to a two-fold punishment where he will serve a 3-year jail sentence or a fine of Sh1 million and another mandatory fine of Sh890,000 or a 3- year jail term.
Count three stated that Ambuso corruptly solicited Sh465,000 from Bonface Mbeu Mwaniki between January 12 2012 and April 20 2013 as an inducement to facilitate continuous disbursement of operation and development funds for the water authority’s Tana catchment area.
The magistrate ruled that the action went against the trust bestowed on him as a public servant and fined him Sh1 million or three years in jail and a mandatory fine of Sh930,000 being twice the amount he solicited or additional three years in jail.
The last count Ambuso was found guilty of receiving the Sh465,000 as proved from his Mpesa transaction where the money was paid in portions from Mwaniki. He was fined Sh1 million or three years in jail and the mandatory double amount of Sh930 million or three years in jail.
The magistrate ruled that the jail sentences will run consecutively which means that if Ambuso fails to pay the total Sh7.6 million fine, he will serve 24 years behind bars.
Nyutu’s decision just came a day after a former manager at National Society Security Fund, a company and its three directors were fined Sh9.6 billion or serve 14 years in jail each for defrauding Sh1.2 billion of pensioners funds.