A middle aged clerk has borne the brunt of corruption after a court directed her to pay a fine of Ksh500,000 or spend two years in jail for taking a Ksh2,500 bribe.
The convict, Justinah Malela Syonzua was sentenced at the Anti Corruption Court in Nairobi on May 24 2018.
Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti said Syonzua, a former Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government plied upon the gullibility of innocent Kenyans and demanded a bribe to discharge a public duty.
“The evidence strongly points to the fact that accused requested for a bribe in order to perform a public duty…” the magistrate said adding that the case had been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
She had been charged with several counts, but the prosecution was able to prove only four.
During the trial the prosecution told the court that the accused had on September 8 2016 while working as a clerical officer at National Registration Bureau in Kasarani office, Nairobi County, she improperly received a benefit of the said amount from Nahum Syombua Musyoka.
Previous criminal record
The bribe was an inducement to facilitate the issuance of a birth certificate to Wayne Musyoka, a cousin to the complainant.
Her work entailed registering adult Kenyans to get National Identity cards among other duties, the court heard.
While sentencing her the trial court observed that, the prosecution has proved the criminal charge against the accused beyond reasonable doubt on account of requesting for a bribe contrary to section 6 (1) of the criminal procedure code (CPC) as set out under Act 2016 and she was convicted accordingly under section 21`5 of the CPC and that “the act of receiving was complete,” thanks to an M-pesa and SMS trail extracted from a mobile phone service provider, Safaricom.
In mitigation, a lawyer said the convict was remorseful, a sole breadwinner and a single mother of a young family of two.
The court heard that she had no previous criminal records and highly regrets the commission of the offence.
However, the magistrate said there was clear indication of corruption on the part of Syonzua.
Stopped receiving her calls
In her defence she had feigned ignorance of the whole process, saying she received money on her M-pesa account from an unknown person of which she returned before the case was filed in court.
The magistrate said prosecution witnesses gave corroborative testimony…
“PW1 Naum Syombua Musyoka testified that on august 30 2016 she wanted a birth certificate for her niece, Wayne Musyoka maria. She called Lutaa(PW2) who told her he knew Justina Malela working at Huduma center Kibera. PW2 sent her Justinah’s number and after one week she called her on September 8 2016. Justinah whom she did not know asked to be sent Ksh3,000. The figure was negotiated to Ksh2,500 and later sent via M-Pesa number 0702113032…” the magistrate said.
Justinah then asked for details and she was went through WhatsApp.
“The accused promised her the certificate the same day in the evening but that never came to be and the accused even stopped receiving her calls,” Ogoti said.
Investigations began when the matter was reported at Huduma centre.