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Court fines former assembly officials double what they stole
Five former Homa Bay County Assembly officials who were found guilty of embezzling Sh27.8 million have been fined a total of Sh59.044 million by an anti-corruption court.
Four of the convicts risk serving six years behind bars if they fail to pay the fine.
The other convict will serve five years in prison if he fails to pay his fine, which Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Obutu said is twice the amount each offender was found guilty of pocketing.
The criminals are former assembly clerk Bob Kephers, former Finance chief officer Carolyne Sang’, former majority leader Michael Owino Ooro, former minority leader Isaac Nyandege and former assembly finance controller Maurice Amek.
They were sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of obtaining the money unlawfully.
Mr Kephers was fined a total of Sh10.3 million or go to prison for six years, while Ms Sang was fined Sh16,124,278 million or serve the same jail term.
Mr Amek was fined Sh16,124,278 million or serve six years in jail, and Mr Ooro Sh9,996,000 million or go behind bars for six years.
Mr Nyandege was fined Sh7.5 million or go to jail for five years.
Serve three years behind bars
Each was charged with 11 counts.
In count one, each convict was fined Sh500,000 or serve three years behind bars.
They were all accused of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption.
In the other counts, the former officials were convicted depending on the charges levelled against them.
In addition to the fines and jail terms, Mr Obutu barred the convicts from holding public office for 10 years.
That means Mr Nyandege, who was cleared to vie for the Homa Bay Town East ward seat on an ODM ticket, may be denied the chance to contest.
Mr Obutu gave the convicts an opportunity to appeal the ruling as he sent them to start serving their jail terms.
At least 31 witnesses, including MCAs and hotel managers, testified in court about the theft.
Some of them said they did not receive any money from the county assembly though the convicts had presented documents that they claimed showed they had paid the money.
Some of the methods the convicts used to pocket money illegally was making fake travel documents and issuing allowances to MCAs and assembly staff.
They would then transfer funds out of the assembly accounts into their pockets but present records that they paid hotels where MCAs had met.