Why Sakaja faces three years in jail in degree forgery saga

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja faces a three-year jail term if found guilty of forging his academic degree certificate and transcripts.
Under section 349 of the penal code, any person who forges a document is guilty of an offence.

“Any person who forges any document or electronic record is guilty of an offence which unless otherwise stated, is a felony and he/she is liable unless owing to the circumstances of forgery or the nature of the thing forged some other punishment is provided, to imprisonment of three years,” reads the Act.

The embattled senator alluded to threats of arrest in a charged post on his Facebook on Wednesday, while defending his degree certificate.

"Not even the threats to arrest me will dim our resolve to serve the people of Nairobi. The people of Nairobi have resoundingly rejected your (President Uhuru Kenyatta's) project and are looking forward to electing their own," he charged.

The Commission for University Education (CUE) chair Prof Chacha Nyaigotti told Nation that the matter was now under investigation by a multi-agency team because “there have arisen many other concerns that are not academic but criminal in nature”.

Section 353 of the penal code also warns that any person who knowingly and fraudulently utters a false document is guilty of an offence of the same kind.

“Any person who knowingly and fraudulently utters a false document is guilty of an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment as if he had forged the thing in question,” the law says.

The law, however, is silent on the fine to be paid by offenders if they are not sentenced to prison, leaving the issue at the discretion of courts.

Tribunal committee

Mr Sakaja is still battling to prove that his academic papers are genuine before the electoral agency’s tribunal committee.

He was taken to the tribunal by a resident, who challenged the degree certificate and accused him of forging his academic papers.

Mr Sakaja claims to have genuinely acquired a Bachelor of Science in Management from Team University in Uganda from where he graduated in 2016.

Even though the university has certified his certificates as genuine and owned him as an alumnus, CUE on Wednesday revoked an earlier letter that had acknowledged his certificate.

The CUE chair said the agency received information about the authenticity of the degree Mr Sakaja had presented that would require further investigation to ascertain its validity.

“Consequently, in accordance to the CUE recognition procedures, we hereby revoke the recognition of your degree – Bachelor of Science in Management from the aforementioned university,” Prof Nyaigotti said.