Sentencing postponed in Bungoma wheelbarrow case

Case to be mentioned on June 25.

Some of the suspects in court on June 22, 2018. PHOTO | BENSON AMANDALA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The sentencing of seven Bungoma officials of Bungoma County found guilty of irregularly inflating the cost of wheelbarrows hit a snag for the fourth time after the trial magistrate failed to appear in court on Friday.

The magistrate was reported to be unwell.

The case was mentioned before Kakamega senior principal magistrate Mr Thomas Muraguri.

“The trial magistrate is indisposed and the matter cannot proceed. I therefore will set a mention date for June 25,” said Mr Muraguri.

After his ruling, relatives of the accused broke into loud murmurs apparently protesting the move to put off the matter, prompting the magistrate to call the court to order.

There was more drama outside the courtroom after the accused waved at relatives and smiled as they were led away.

Some relative chanted, “aluta continua!” (the struggle continues).

The officials were convicted by Kakamega Chief magistrate Bildad Ochieng’ of two counts under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act 2003.

The accused are, Mr Howard Lukadilu, the chairman of the tender committee, Mr Oscar Onyango Ojwang’, the viice chairman of the committee and Mr John Juma Matsanza, the accounting officer.

Others are Ayub Tuvaka China, Arlington Shikuku Omushieni, Jacquueline Nanjala Namukali and Reuben Cheruyiot Rutto.

The prosecution has asked the court to send the convicts to jail and impose the maximum 10-year sentence each.

The prosecutor Mr Paul Juma said the court should serve a deterrent sentence to send a message to other with the intention of engaging in fraudulent activities involving misuse of public funds and resources.

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