Four former top officials of Nairobi county government have been handed a combined 30 years in jail by the anti-corruption court in Sh18 million fraud case.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Esther Maina, the ex-officials who served during the tenure of Governor Evans Kidero have been given an option of paying a fine of a total of Sh21.4 million.
They include former County Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Kiamba and former secretary Lilian Ndegwa, who have been fined Sh9.6 million each in default serve 12 years in jail.
Also jailed are former senior secretary in the department of finance Regina Chepkemboi Rotich and former head of treasury Stephen Ogaga Osiro, who have been fined Sh1 million and Sh1.2 million, respectively, in default they will each serve three years in prison.
The sentences stemmed from Justice Maina's decision to overturn a magistrate's ruling that had acquitted the ex-officials.
Justice Maina said the trial magistrate had erred in acquitting them since there was sufficient evidence to support the graft charges.
The magistrate Kennesy Bidali, had acquitted them on January 11, 2018 on grounds that there was insufficient evidence.
But in her judgement, Justice Maina said that the trial magistrate made a legal blunder by acquitting the suspects when there was sufficient evidence by the prosecution proving that they had committed the economic crimes.
Violation of law
"Mr Kiamba and Ms Ndegwa acted in blatant violation of the law governing public procurement and ought not to have been acquitted. It is my finding therefore that the magistrate erred in acquitting them when the prosecution had produced overwhelming evidence of proving their guilt," Justice Maina ruled.
The subject of the corruption case was purchase of window blinds for the office of Nairobi county Chief Finance officer in 2014. At the time, Mr Kiamba was the chief finance office.
"Mr Kiamba's participation in the procurement of curtain blinds is sufficient to sustain a conviction. It is immaterial as argued by his lawyer that the curtain blinds were supplied and l also do not buy their defence that there no procurement process in place at the county government at the time," ruled the judge.
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The court found that there was no explanation on what capacity Mr Kiambaa was paid Sh112,500.
The four committed the corruption offences on February 20, 2014 at the city hall Nairobi.
Abuse of office
The High Court convicted them in nine charges among them abuse of office, uttering a false document and fraudulently making payment from public revenue for goods not supplied.
The judgment was from an appeal filed by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) challenging the magistrate's decision.
EACC had argued that the magistrate erred in holding that there was a systems failure at Nairobi county government with regard to the procurement process without any evidence to support.
The EACC also argued that the trial court relied wholly on the evidence of defence and entirely disregarded evidence adduced by the prosecution.