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Gwendo’s 2-year jail term quashed but she’s not entirely free

Gwendo was jailed after she was found guilty of fraud and abuse of office/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – A two-year jail term slapped on former Nominated Jubilee Senator Joy Gwendo over a Sh1.7 million fraud has been quashed.

But she is not entirely free since the High Court will hand her an appropriate sentence on March 4 because her innocence has not been proven on the appeal.

Gwendo was jailed by Anti-Corruption Magistrate Douglas Ogoti last December but moved to the High Court and was released on Sh400,000 cash bail pending appeal.

In his finding, Justice John Onyiego said it was wrong for the trial court to impose a jail term without the option of a fine.

“The trial court erred by failing to state reasons for not giving the appellant the option of a fine. To that extent, I agree with the applicant that the court erred,” held the judge.

Gwendo was jailed after she was found guilty of fraud and abuse of office. She had denied five counts including abuse of office, issuing bad cheques and stealing.

During trial, Gwendo in a plea agreement was willing to pay Sh2.2 million in four instalments. As a result, she would plead guilty to abuse of office with the prosecution dropping charges of stealing and issuing bad cheques.

She however declined to execute the agreement which saw the trial court convict her for dishonesty and attempting to “hoodwink” the magistrate.

It is alleged that the former Senator forged a Sh200,000 cheque drawn from a Kenya Commercial Bank account in favour of Kivuli Development Initiative and signed by Willy Bett.

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On October 23, 2016 at Chinga Parish in Kisumu East, Gwendo purportedly 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.

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