Former Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) director, Davy Koech, has been granted a presidential pardon by President William Ruto. Koech had previously been sentenced to a six-year prison term for his involvement in corruptly acquiring Ksh19.3 million.
The decision to pardon Koech, along with 37 other individuals, was made under the Power of Mercy Act 2011, following a recommendation from the Advisory Committee, according to the Gazette Notice.
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Koech’s conviction stemmed from accusations of transferring Sh19.3 million from the institute’s bank accounts to his personal accounts while serving as the Managing Director. The funds in question were originally designated for the Center for Disease Control in Kisumu.
The former KEMRI director faced charges on three counts related to the fraudulent acquisition of public property and was subsequently fined Sh19.6 million or given the alternative option of serving six years in jail.
Specifically, Koech was alleged to have fraudulently acquired Sh800,000 from KEMRI on August 17, 2006, in Nairobi. The second and third charges accused him of irregularly acquiring Sh6 million and an additional Sh12.5 million from the research institution on December 12, 2006. He also faced alternative counts indicating that he had used his position to corruptly gain access to funds held in the account of Vector Biological and Control Research (VBCR).
Koech, however, maintained that he had refunded the entire amount in 2015, along with an interest of Sh3 million. He claimed that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had assured him they would no longer pursue the matter.
In addition to the criminal case, Prof Koech also faced accusations of fraud, breach of trust, and negligence regarding the loss of Sh509 million from the Kenya Medical Research Institute Staff Pension and Life Assurance Scheme. The scheme, which had been established in 1983 and managed by Kenya National Assurance Company Limited (KNA), experienced a loss when the insurer sank with members’ contributions in 1996.
The charges against Koech and other trustees involved misappropriation of funds belonging to the pension scheme, leading the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, the predecessor of EACC, to seek restitution of the funds.