Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka has been acquitted in a case of fraud that has dragged in court for eight years.
Mr. Onyoka, who was accused of evading tax from purchase of sugar for Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) through Kitutu Chache Constituency Development Fund (CDF), termed the ruling as a big relief and thanked his constituents for standing with him.
“This case has really weighed me down but I am glad it has come to an end and I can move on with my life,” said the jubilant MP.
In the case, the legislator was accused of obtaining a withholding tax certificate from Kenya Revenue Authority that was used to authorize the release of sugar from Chemelil Company between April and June 2008. KRA is said to have lost Sh21 million in taxes from the deal.
In his ruling on Friday, Kisumu Chief Magistrate Thomas Ogutu exonerated the legislator saying the letter used to obtain sugar from Chemelil on behalf of the MP and Kitutu Chache South CDF was forged.
Mr. Ogutu said the sugar purchase authorization forms used in the deal originated from eleven different merchants that maintained active accounts with the miller.
He added that the cheques paid to Chemelil were not from Kitutu Chache CDF and the MP but from the eleven merchants and that no receipts were issued.
He said the signatures on the documents were scrutinized by detectives who found out that they did not belong to the legislator, adding that the stamp on the requisition letter was not that of Kitutu Chache South CDF.
Mr. Ogutu said the investigation team failed to unearth how the withholding tax certificate was obtained from KRA and how an unknown person obtained sugar from the factory on behalf of the MP.
Even though the legislator had paid some amount to KRA, Mr. Ogutu said it did not amount to admission of liability since he did so after being pressurized.