Kenya: Court Says Bible Study Not Proof of Convict's Change of Character

6 December 2021

A court has refused to recognise a Bible study certificate acquired by a convict, who also became a pastor while in prison, as proof that he is now a reformed person.

Chrispin Omondi Majanga alias Evans Kiprono Cheruiyot was jailed afresh for 27 years for forging a Jubilee Insurance Company Limited (JICL) card and attempting to fraudulently obtain drugs from The Nairobi Hospital valued at Sh12,688.

He will now serve the custodial sentence after a magistrate rejected his pastoral certificate as a proof he is a reformed person.

"I do not want you to present me with a pastoral and Biblical studies certificates as a proof you have reformed. I require you to bring before this court a trade certificate to prove you can earn a living once you are through with your jail term," Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi told Majanga.

Ms Nanzushi informed the convict that churches are very many in Kenya and there is a stiff competition for faithful with pastors not well remunerated.

"You are serving a five-year jail term. There is no certificate from the Prisons Department showing you have reformed," Ms Nanzushi stated.

Life outside prison tough

She told the serving convict that life outside prison is quite tough with a 20-litre jerrican of water costing Sh50 in some Nairobi suburbs.

"If I release you, you will be brought back with another offence of stealing given that you have not reformed properly," Ms Nanzushi.

Pleading for mercy, Majanga said before he was jailed, he was a panel beater at a city garage.

"I promise to reform more once out of prison as I will be responsible given that I will look for my wife and son who took off when I was jailed," Majanga pleaded.

Majanga, who was convicted for nine counts, was charged alongside Emmanuel Ojuki Otieno alias Evans Kiprono Cheruiyot.

Fraud

Both were convicted for the offence of conspiracy to defraud Jubilee Insurance of Sh12,688 through fraudulent disposition of drugs.

They were using a forged JIC medical card and forged medical prescriptions to non-contributors or non-beneficiaries of medical scheme covered by JIC.

Majanga was separately charged with eight counts.

He was convicted for forging a JIC medical card, presenting the forged card and forging a medical prescription note.

Ms Nanzushi called for a pre-bail report for Otieno, whose pastoral and bible studies certificate she also rejected, saying the documents are not a sure proof that he is rehabilitated.

The magistrate directed the prisons officer in charge Industrial Area Prison to produce a report about Otieno's character on December 20, 2021.

She also sentenced Majanga to a three-year jail term for each of the nine counts, bringing the total to 27 years.

He was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.

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