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Gakuo: the two lives of a man who once made Nairobi green city in the sun

For environmental conservationists, Gakuo has left an indelible mark in Nairobi/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The news of the passing on of former Nairobi County clerk John Gakuo are shocking to many, some who are yet to come to terms with his arrest and subsequent 3 years jail over the Sh283million cemetery scandal.

A man who made a reality from the saying “Nairobi is a green city in the sun” by ensuring hundreds of trees are planted across the city.

While many have since been cut down by subsequent County authorities, it is a fact that Nairobi residents are likely to seek cover under one of his ‘many’ trees.

For environmental conservationists, Gakuo has left an indelible mark in Nairobi.

A mark that will solely lie on the eyes of the beholder.

But to others, what remains is the image of Gakuo in the dock during the hearing of his case.

Here are some sentiments by Kenyans on Twitter;

“A gallant Kenyan Son John Gakuo passes on while in Jail. May God rest his soul in Peace,” @RiroJoe.

“What happens to the rest of 3 years John Gakuo was supposed to be in prison?” @Emmah017.

“Our system should Jail more corrupt criminals like the Ruaraka land cartels walking free, despite the available mountains of evidence to die in prison too. RIP John Gakuo,” @CollinsKKorir.

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“Following the death of John Gakuo in prison, some of our pathetic corruption politicians will start championing for VIP jails for VIP thieves and murderers. Watch this space” @jumaf3.

“There is a reason why they say Respect the Dead. The former Nairobi Clerk John Gakuo scenario is interesting. Mans was involved in a Cemetery Land Scam worth ksh. 283 million. He was sent to 3 years in Jail. Now he has passed on. Just imagine if he had no land to be buried,” @ItsBravin.

-About his death-

Gakuo passed away at the Mbagathi Hospital as he was serving a 3-year jail term over Sh283m cemetery scam at the defunct Nairobi City Council.

The former Town Clerk had been jailed together with ex Local Government Permanent Secretary Sammy Kirui.

In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti directed the two to pay an additional fine of Sh1 million each.

Ogot further found former legal secretary Mary Ngethe together with the then secretary to the tender committee Alexander Musee guilty of being complicit in the scandal and handed them a sentence of three years each.

Ngethe, in addition, will pay a fine of Sh52 million failure to which she will serve another year in prison while Musee was ordered to pay a fine Sh32 million or serve a year in jail.

In the cemetery fraud, public funds were used to buy a 120-acre plot in Mavoko township, considered by experts to be unsuitable for graves.

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