The judgment delivered Thursday against former Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has elicited disaffection throughout the country. Some see the Sh3.6 million fine or six years imprisonment in default in a case involving Sh55 million of stolen or squandered taxpayers’ funds as a slap on the wrist.
Punishment against an individual should be rehabilitative and formative but never destructive. At one time or another, all of us are bound to be errant or wayward or make mistakes in our lifetimes. In the same light, there is room for repentance.
Italian criminologist Cesare Beccaria (1738-94) avers that the severity of a punishment should be proportionate to the gravity of the offence. He abhorred the arbitrary use of justice and overly meting out harsh and inappropriate punishment. In light of that, the five objectives of punishment — deterrent, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution and restitution — come to mind.
The retributive theory of punishment is justified by the moral that the guilty must make amends for the harm they caused society.
The former CS was found guilty of only one offence — that of conferring a favour to three senior officials in his ministry to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games at the expense of the participating athletes, hence the abuse of office charge. The sentence was, therefore, commensurate with the offence.
Blame it on the investigators for failing to pin him down on the more serious charge of fraud, which would have attracted a more severe sentence — like the one given to his co-accused, the then-long-serving charge de mission, Stephen arap Soi.
Owing to this conviction, Wario has lost out on his ambassadorial post, to which he was appointed after the 2017 General Election. And chances are that he may never hold public office again, as his name is tainted with corruption, always cropping up whenever a job opportunity arose.
At only 50, Wario was a rising star in his community and may have considered seeking an elective post in next year’s general election. All that has gone up in smoke due to the guilty verdict against him.
In all fairness, that is certainly more than enough punishment for the man. Leave him be.
Ngure Kamau, Nyandarua
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Watching the recent sentencing of a graft convict in a case that had dragged on in court for years brought hope that many will try to avoid engaging in corruption.
However, I was appalled that the person, former CS Hassan Wario, was fined a meagre sum, which he paid immediately. After he was set free, he waved to the cameras with an attitude.
The math does not add up: The amount of public funds lost was in the tens of millions, yet he was fined measly Sh3.6 million!
Kamichore Mutindira, Nairobi