BY SAM ALFAN.
NASA co-principal Moses Wetangula risks arrest and imprisonment in civil jail for failure to pay Sh3.8million election petition costs to his perennial political rival Musikari Kombo.
Wetangula is now required to personally appear before the High Court in Bungoma on May 10 after making an undertaking to offset his indebtedness before the Deputy Registrar E.N. Mwenda on April 5.
Lawyer Alfred Ndambiri, representing Kombo, had made an application to recover the money on February 17 that was awarded to the politician following the invalidation of Wetangula’s election by Justice Francis Gikonyo on September 30, 2013.
Wetangula, the Ford-Kenya flag-bearer, contested and won the subsequent by-election, since his petition was pending before the Court of Appeal in Kisumu.
The Supreme Court, presided over by retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, handed Wetangula a political life-line on March 17, last year, after quashing the decision made on March 14, 2014 by Appellate Judges David Maraga, Festus Azangalala and Jamilla Mohamed disqualifying him from the electoral race.
Wetangula was the only Coalition for Restoration and Democracy (Cord) co-principal elected to the Senate after the March 4, 2013 polls, after Cord leader Raila Odinga and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka were bundled out of the presidential race by Jubilee Alliance candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
In his contested judgment, Justice Gikonyo had held that Wetangula, who was appointed the minority leader in the Senate, was liable for election offences contrary to the Elections Act. The Judge had held that voter-bribery influenced the voting pattern.
Justice Gikonyo had held that the integrity of voting was compromised and did not amount to an accurate, accountable and transparent election. The Judge had sent out notices to the DPP to take the further action.
Under Section 72 of the Elections Act, a candidate running for nomination or election campaigns risks disqualification if he engages or knowingly assists in bribery, violence or intimidation against their opponents and their supporters.
Wetang’ula had protested that the Court of Appeal, sitting in Kisumu, had no power to disqualify him from the election on the basis of unfounded allegations of engaging in electoral irregularities that had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
He had complained that claims that he had dished out Sh260,000 to 21 pastors and bishops who were assembled at the Red Cross offices at Kanduyi on February 22, 2013 to influence them to vote for Cord were baseless.
On March 17, last year, the Supreme Court gave the greenlight for the investigation and possible prosecution of Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula over alleged electoral malpractice during the March 4, 2013 General Election.
The five-member bench had directed the Registrar of the Supreme Court to present to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keriako Tobiko, with the dossier linking Wetangula with “voter-bribery and treating” to enable him take the necessary action.
The damning report was given to the Speaker of the Senate, Ekwe Ethuro and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).