Chief Justice David Maraga responded to an uproar occasioned by the awarding of, Robert Maina Ngumi, a Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) official, a Ksh2 million fine in a Ksh15 million graft case.
The Judiciary explained that a huge chunk of the Ksh15 million was counterfeit hence the low fine given by Milimani Anti-Corruption Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi.
“The accused solicited the amount of Ksh15 million, but unknown to him, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was alerted.
The judiciary also noted that the court had before it a case involving receipt of Ksh 110,000 as a bribe and not Ksh15 million.
After Ngumi received the bribe he was nabbed by undercover EACC detectives who were on stand-by and the money, confiscated and produced as evidence in court.
The Judiciary also explained the clause in the constitution used when imposing the fine on the former KRA official.
“In sentencing the accused, the court referred to Section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act which provides that someone convicted of soliciting benefit “shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to imprisonment to a term not exceeding ten years or both.” (this is regardless of the amount of the bribe).
“The Court imposed a fine of Ksh1 million for each of the two counts thus the total fine of Ksh2 million. It is hereby noted that offences have prescribed penalties in law which the courts cannot go beyond. In this case, the maximum financial punishment provided in law is Ksh1 million per count,” read the statement.
The Judiciary explained that the court took the view that the accused did not receive any quantifiable benefits from his conduct given that the whole bribe was immediately confiscated by EACC officials.
Ngumi also indicated he lost his job in 2014 and was living with significant medical conditions and was also a first offender.
The case drew a number of reactions online with Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu commenting, “So he made 13M ‘profit’?”
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