Former Water boss handed 24 years in jail for soliciting bribes

The judge found Ombuso guilty of a crime he committed 10 years ago.

Ombuso

A former Finance Manager at the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) could spend 24 years in prison or pay a fine of Sh7.6 million after an anti-corruption court found him guilty of soliciting and collecting bribes amounting to Sh910,000.

James Omondi Ambuso was accused of soliciting a Sh445,000 from Geoffrey Mworia, Sh16,000 from Simon Wachira and Sh465,000 from Boniface Mwaniki.

Ambuso was also charged for a second count in which he is said to have, on the same dates, transferred the some amounts through M-Pesa to Mworia through Patrick Masaku as an incentive, contrary to the Anti-corruption Act.

Senior Principal Magistrate Eunice Nyutu found Ambuso guilty in four counts of corruptly soliciting and corruptly receiving a bribe. He was, however, acquitted on two other counts of abuse of office.

For the first count of corrupt practice, the magistrate handed him a three-year jail sentence with the option of a Sh1 million fine, while in the second count he was sentenced to three years in jail with the option of a Sh1 million fine, and additional mandatory fine of Sh890,000 or a three-year jail term.

On count three the court stated that Ambuso corruptly solicited Sh465,000 from Boniface Mbeu Mwaniki between January 12, 2012 and April 20, 2013 fining him Sh1 million or three years in jail and a mandatory fine of Sh930,000 being twice the amount he solicited or additional three years in jail.

On the fourth count the court found him guilty of receiving Sh465,000 from Boniface Mwaniki, He was fined Sh1 million or three years in jail and the mandatory double amount of Sh930 million or three years in jail.

Senior Principal Magistrate Nyutu, while making the ruling, said the defendant had a duty to protect public resources but did not. Nyutu added that such actions are to be frowned upon adding that the sentence was a message to corrupt public officials.

“The accused was a public officer when he committed the offence. He had a duty to safeguard public resources, but he did the opposite and used the resources to benefit himself. Such actions are to be frowned up and I want to send a strong message to public officers that the use of public recourses for personal enrichment shall not be tolerated,” she said.

Ambuso’s sentencing comes just a day after another anti-corruption court found a former manager at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and three former company directors guilty of fraud handing them 14 years in prison or a Sh9.6 billion fine.

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