What you need to know:
- At least 12 members-elect are in court fighting charges like fraud while others want to stop their imprisonment.
- Incoming lawmakers facing criminal cases include former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Daniel Manduku (Nyaribari Masaba constituency), and Senators-elect Danson Mungatana (Tana River), Allan Chesang (Trans Nzoia) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi).
Like the 12th Parliament whose term has just ended, the incoming one will also have a share of members facing cases in court.
Their election re-highlights the debate on the integrity of public office holders and comes at a time the civil society and a section of Kenyans are in court seeking interpretation of the application of the ethics and integrity law to people seeking public offices.
In May, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned of a possible takeover of Parliament by people with criminal records.
At least 12 members-elect are in court fighting charges like fraud while others want to stop their imprisonment.
Some were at one time on the police radar over fraud while others are embroiled in fights with prosecutors at the appeals stage of their cases.
Incoming lawmakers facing criminal cases include former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Daniel Manduku (Nyaribari Masaba constituency), and Senators-elect Danson Mungatana (Tana River), Allan Chesang (Trans Nzoia) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi).
Mr Manduku was elected on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket while Mr Mungatana, Mr Chesang and Mr Cherargei rode on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) wave.
Mr Chesang is in court over the 2018 fake Sh181 million laptop tender at the Office of outgoing Deputy President William Ruto, now president-elect.
He was charged alongside six others with offering a tender document under the name of the Office of Deputy President for the supply of 2,800 laptops with the intent to defraud the public. They were also charged with forgery.
The court was told that Mr Chesang and the others made a Local Purchase Order purporting it to be genuine and issued by the DP’s office.
They reportedly obtained the laptops from Makindu Motors Ltd on the Mombasa-Nairobi road by claiming to have a genuine tender document.
The said offences, according to prosecutors, were committed between May 30 and August 12, 2018.
The trial is ongoing at Milimani lawcourts, Nairobi. It was delayed following the transfer of Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku to Mombasa.
Mr Charles Musinga, the director of Makindu Motors who is the victim of the said fraud, told the court that the people who offered the tender to supply the laptops had a police escort and unfettered access to government offices.
Mr Musinga said there was nothing to suggest the deal was fake, and that some of the suspects drove top-of-range vehicles with government insignia.
During the collection of the consignment, the court was told, a man identified as Kiptoo, alias Chesang – who was supposedly a personal assistant to Dr Ruto – was escorted by police and drove a Range Rover with insignia and stickers of Parliament and the Office of the Deputy President.
Senator Chesang’s fraud case comes for further hearing on October 12.
Others fighting cases are the re-elected MPs John Waluke (Sirisia - Jubilee Party), Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino (Embakasi East - ODM), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret - UDA), Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango - UDA) and James Gakuya (Embakasi North - UDA).
Also on the list is Kimilili MP Didmus Wekesa Barasa (UDA), who is facing imminent trial over a shooting that left his rival’s aide dead.
Recently, Mr Barasa failed to stop the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) from investigating him for impersonating a Kenya Defence Forces officer.
The EACC had argued that the lawmaker was misusing the title “captain” since investigations had established that he never earned it during his military service between 2007 and 2009.
Two years ago, Mr Barasa was arraigned in Kajiado for fraudulently obtaining Sh450,000 from a Kitengela businessman. The matter was later settled out of court.
Before the General Election, the EACC flagged Mr Barasa as not worth holding a public office.
EACC said it had received information that Mr Barasa bachelor’s degree certificate was fake. Investigators recommended Mr Barasa’s prosecution for forgery.
Mr Mungatana was in 2019 charged alongside others with conspiracy to commit an economic crime involving electronic money transfer from the Kilifi devolved government. The case has not been settled.
In 2020, the former Garsen MP was implicated in a Sh70 million fake military food supply tender.
He was arraigned alongside businessman Paul Collins Waweru for forgery, obtaining money by false pretence and unlawfully making documents. The trial is ongoing in Nairobi.
Also on the spot is Kisii senator-elect Richard Onyonka, listed by EACC as unsuitable to hold a public office.
The commission said it received and investigated reports that Mr Onyonka failed to remit taxes totalling to Sh21 million to the Kenya Revenue Authority.
The transaction related to the purchase of sugar for internally displaced persons valued at Sh132 million from Chemelil Sugar Company using the Constituency Development Fund.
The anti-corruption watchdog said investigations established that Mr Onyonka was culpable.
A court in Kisumu found acquitted Mr Onyonka but the state lodged an appeal. The matter is still pending.
Mr Cherargei faces hate speech charges. Prosecutors accuse him of ethnic contempt, contrary to the National Cohesion and Integration Act.
He reportedly made the hateful remarks at a public function in Nandi county and a funeral in Lelwak in 2019. The case is ongoing before Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo.
Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama (Jubilee Party) was in June 2022 committed to a six-month prison term or a Sh1,560,000 fine after being found guilty of conspiring to grab a piece of land. The lawmaker paid the fine.
Mr Arama and four others were found guilty of conspiracy to defraud Mr Ahmed Muhammad of the plot by faking land registration documents. The offences were committed in August 2015.
Mr Manduku faces charges related to the illegal award of tenders, occasioning Kenya Ports Authority to lose Sh1.4 billion. He left KPA in August 2020 over the corruption allegations, which are yet to be determined by a court.
Mr Manduku is charged with conspiring to commit an offence by approving the procurement of concrete barrier works without approval. He is also accused of engaging a manufacturer of the barriers without planning.
The offences, the court heard, were committed at the KPA headquarters in Mombasa between March 29 and August 22, 2019.
Mr Manduku, who was also the authority’s accounting officer, faces two other counts of wilfully failing to comply with relevant laws and procedures and guidelines relating to procurement.
According to the prosecution, he occasioned misappropriation of Sh678.8 million on KPA’s budget for the 2018/2019 financial year.
Mr Waluke is awaiting a decision of the High Court on his appeal against a 34-year prison term by a magistrate over fraud.
He was convicted of stealing Sh297 million from the National Cereals and Produce Board. The Sirisia MP is out on Sh10 million cash bail.
In October last year, the High Court declined to release his passport to allow him to travel to the United States for a parliamentary event on grounds that he was a convict.
Mr Sudi is battling charges at the Anti-Corruption court over forgery of academic papers.
The Kapseret MP-elect is charged with forging his academic papers and pressing a false declaration to the electoral commission during the 2013 vote.
He is accused of fraudulently obtaining a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education school leaving certificate and results from Highway Secondary School, Nairobi, and the Kenya National Examinations Council.
Mr Sudi is also accused of forging his Diploma in Business Management certificate from the Kenya Institute of Management.
The state says he also presented the said forged education papers to the IEBC when he sought clearance for the 2013 parliamentary election.
Mr Owino is under trial for misuse of a gun. The case involves shooting at a club in Kilimani, Nairobi. Mr Owino shot Mr Felix Orinda, “DJ Evolve”, in the neck at B-Club on January 17, 2020.
Though the court allowed the victim’s decision to withdraw the attempted murder charge, it upheld the prosecution’s objection that the count on misuse of a gun could not be withdrawn as it was against the republic.
Embakasi North MP-elect James Gakuya is battling charges of embezzling CDF money, fraudulent acquisition of public property, conflict of interest, conspiracy to defraud and failure to adhere to procurement and disposal laws. The case that started in August 2018 relates to a Sh40 million CDF project.
Mr Osoro was charged in March last year with malicious damage to property during the by-election in Kiamokama Ward.
Meanwhile, Nyaribari Chache MP-elect Zaheer Jhanda (UDA) was in 2019 named by police as a person of interest in a fake gold racket.