Raila calls for Waluke's release, cites cases facing Kenya Kwanza leaders being dropped

Raila calls for release of jailed MP Waluke

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has called for the release of Sirisia legislator John Waluke on bond, as well as demanding that the case be dismissed.

He argued that Kenya Kwanza leaders who were facing court cases have been given a chance to vacate their charges, and that Azimio leaders should be given the same opportunity. 

"People facing murder and graft charges are being forgiven. But on the Azimio side, there's no justice. For example, Waluke is in jail for 67 years. It's not fair," he said Monday while speaking at the burial of the mother to Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa in Mumias East. 

"We want Waluke freed on bond and his case dismissed," he added. 

Mr Waluke is currently serving a 67-year jail term after he was convicted of defrauding the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) of Sh297 million. He was jailed alongside his co-accused, Ms Grace Wakhungu, who was locked up for 69 year after they failed to raise their court fines amounting to more than Sh2 billion after they were found guilty. 

The two are serving the jail term on behalf of Erad Supplies and General Contractors, where they served as directors.

The two were paid the money for fake claims, in a botched deal to supply some 40,000 metric tonnes of maize to the government in 2004.

However, Mr Waluke has filed an appeal at the appellate court on grounds that his imprisonment is robbing Sirisia voters a chance to be represented in the National Assembly. For instance, the people of Sirisia – a constituency with more than 60,000 voters – had no say in the crucial Cabinet formation as their MP is at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.

“There is clear and present danger that if this application is not heard and determined in a timely manner, the applicant will miss Parliamentary sessions, leading to loss of his seat or failure of representation of the people of Sirisia Constituency in the National Assembly,” the inmate says in court papers.

John Waluke jail smiles

Sirisia MP John Waluke at the Milimani Law Courts on October 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Sam Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Waluke’s conviction is historic, as it would mean that a sitting MP would have to serve time in jail for corruption – a vice lawmakers are expected to protect their constituents from through oversight.

The MP has asked the Appellate Court to maintain the bail terms he was granted by the High Court in 2020 and free him for the pendency of his challenge against the jail term which has an option of a Sh628 million fine.