Revealed; How The Late Jacob Juma Was To Sell Public Assets In Maize Fraud
Jun. 25, 2020
Businessman Jacob Juma was the face of Erad supplies, which he served as managing director. And his two co-directors were largely unknown until they got a court order attaching the country’s strategic grain reserves.
The late Juma made it known to all and sundry that he was going to auction government property after his company won a case on a breached contract. He died before he could execute the order, leaving his co-directors with the task, which turned out to be a poisoned chalice.
And awaiting sentencing today is Sirisia MP John Koyi Waluke and Ms Grace Sarapay Wakhungu, the co-directors. Their woes started in August 2004 when Erad Supplies and General Contractors Ltd was awarded a Sh778 million tender to supply 40,000 tonnes of maize.
Erad was one of the five companies the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) contracted to supply 180,000 tonnes so that the country could meet its needs at the time. Erad supplies was to be paid Sh19,465 per tonne on condition that it would provide a performance bond of 10 per cent of the quantity.
The EACC investigated the matter and in 2018, Mr Waluke and Ms Wakhungu were charged in court over fraud among other charges after Juma’s death in May 2016. In all the instances, the late Juma appeared to be the one running the affairs of Erad as Mr Waluke and Ms Wakhungu portrayed a figure of strangers in Jerusalem.
On June 22, 2020, the court found Mr Waluke and Ms Wakhungu guilty of the offense. The two are expected to be sentenced on Thursday this week. However, their conviction did not come without a fight. Early this month they lost a petition seeking the quashing of the PIC report that recommended their prosecution, for fraudulently receiving more than Sh300 million from NCPB. Justice Mumbi Ngugi said Mr Waluke was an MP and a member of PIC when the matter was debated by committee.
She said the MP was given the opportunity to testify before the committee and he was in parliament when the report was adopted, yet he did not challenge it, until five years later.