Dates available for Western trio’s appeals

Appeals against the conviction and sentencing of Western Governor Ati Wobiro, Dr Modowai Gumoi and Norman May can be heard this month in the Supreme Court.

Justice Stephen Kassman said there are dates available in February however, that will depend on how fast lawyers file their submissions in court.  

He made these remarks on Friday when the matter went for directions hearing before him. The case will return for mention at 1.30pm today.

The Supreme Court will be dealing with nine sets of appeals in total, two appeals from each applicant against the National Court’s finding of guilt and their ten-year sentence terms.

Leave was granted or allowed by the Supreme Court on Dec 14 after the court was satisfied on their grounds of appeal.

The appeal will go for hearing before a three-judge Supreme Court bench.

Their appeal was on the grounds that they were found guilty of misappropriating K350,000 and an additional K24,000 and not K7,060,000 – the amount to which they were sentenced to 10 years in jail for.

The three were convicted on July 26, 2016, by Justice Martin Ipang for conspiring to defraud the state and misappropriating monies amounting to K7 million.

Prior to their sentence, they repaid K373,971.68. Receipt of the repaid amount was provided to court just before the National Court sentenced them to 10 years in jail on Nov 18, 2016.

The three were found guilty for conspiring to establish the Fly Care Foundation between January 1 and December 30, 2013, by using over K7m funding from the provincial government.

They conspired to misappropriate funds through a memorandum of agreement between Governor Wobiro and May, for the Foundation to deliver projects in the province.

Justice Ipang, in his ruling on July 26, said there was overwhelming evidence that Wobiro paid K350,000 to New Century hotel as  a cover up for informal sector projects, when it was actually intended for his electoral officials who led his campaign in the 2012 General Elections.

It was also found that he paid out monies for various church projects in the province without following proper processes. No acquittals were done on the funds given out.          

Sally Pokiton