July 23, 2019

Court reverses ex-senator Joy Gwendo’s two-year jail term over sh1.7m theft

By SAM KIPLAGAT for Daily Nation

Former nominated Senator Joy Gwendo. The court has squashed her two-year jail term. PHOTO | courtesy

A High Court judge has quashed a two-year jail sentence slapped on former nominated Jubilee Senator Joy Gwendo.

Ms Gwendo had been sentenced to two years in jailby Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti on December 7, 2018 for stealing Sh1.7 million.

She, however, rushed to the High Court and was released on a Sh400, 000 cash bail, pending the hearing of her appeal. 

On Tuesday, High Court judge John Onyiego said it was wrong for the trial magistrate to impose a jail term without the option of a fine.  

The court also considered the fact that a plea bargain, which she failed to honour, gave no provision for compensation.

FINE

The judge said Mr Ogoti did not provide the reasons for failing to give Ms Gwendo the option of a fine.

“To that extent, I agree with the applicant that the court erred,” the judge said.

The former nominated senator was sentenced to two years in jail after being found guilty of fraud and abuse of office.

She had been charged with five counts including abuse of office, issuing bad cheques and stealing.

In a plea agreement, Ms Gwendo agreed to pay the money in four installments. Further, she pleaded guilty to abuse of office but the State dropped charges of stealing and issuing bad cheques.

SH200,000

Ms Gwendo was accused of forging a Sh200,000 cheque drawn from a Kenya Commercial Bank account in favour of Kivuli Development Initiative and signed by Mr Willy Kipkorior Bett.

The charge sheet stated that on October 23, 2016 at Chinga Parish in Kisumu East, Ms Gwendo used her position as a State officer to confer herself a benefit of Sh2,226,800, the property of Kisumu East Cotton Growers Cooperative Society through Kivuli Development Initiative.

She failed to honour the agreement, making Mr Ogoti to describe her as a dishonest person.

“…it is noteworthy that she executed a plea bargaining agreement yet she was sure that she could not honor the same. She was hoodwinking the court and therefore lied,” Mr. Ogoti said.

This article was first published by Daily Nation

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