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SUPREME COURT JUDGES TO DECIDE BBI’S FATE.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

The fate of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill, which was being pushed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga now lies with the seven judges of the Supreme Court after lawyers made their final submissions on Thursday.

For three days, Kenyans were treated to high octane arguments by the country’s biggest legal minds as they argued for or against the bill, after it was shot down by the High Court and Court of Appeal last year.

The Judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome will decide whether the doctrine of Basic Structure is applicable in Kenya, whether the President can initiate changes/amendments to the Constitution and whether a constitutional amendment can only be initiated by Parliament through a parliamentary initiative or through a popular initiative.

Other issues include whether civil or criminal proceedings can be instituted against the President or a person performing the functions of the office of the President, whether there was Public Participation in the BBI process and the question of quorum at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Veteran Lawyer John Khaminwa who represents Kituo cha Sheria almost broke down while appealing to the Judges not to forget the history the country went through during the Nyayo era.

An emotional Khaminwa said it was unfortunate that some individuals wanted to reverse the gains made over the years and take the country to the Nyayo era.

“We should never forget the history of the country, we still have the elements in the country if you do not stand firm they want to take us back to the nyayo era,” said Khaminwa.

The veteran lawyer argued that the Kenyan constitution was drafted in such a manner that it was not amendable, the idea being that allowing the amendment would leave the country with no constitution.

SENIOR KENYA POWER MANAGERS AND SECURITY DETAINED FOR EIGHT DAYS OVER COUNTRYWIDE POWER OUTAGES.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Top Kenya Power and Lighting Company officers have been detained for eight days, pending conclusion of investigations of alleged sabotage at the power utility firm that led to countrywide blackout a week ago.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations moved to court after arresting the 10 KP officers and sought to detain them for 21 days at Muthaiga Police station, pending conclusion of the probe.

Chief Inspector Keith Robert attached to the DCI HQ serious crime unit told the court he is investigating a case of sabotage and commission of terrorism.

The 10 were brought before Kahawa Court Magistrate Boaz Ombewa who reduced the days to eight.

The officials include David Kamau Mutitu, George Kipkoech Korir, Julius Karani Mwaniki, Geoffrey Kipkirui Kigen, Anthony Gathii Njaramba, Martin Musyoki Makasa, Joshua Wasaka Mang’eni, Raphael Ndolo Kimeu and Peter Musyoki Kithusya.

Their lawyer Danstan Omari had opposed their detention saying claims that the officials might escape are baseless. He said Korir is a top notch chief engineer of ‘monumental personality’.

“Therefore the argument that he is likely to escape jurisdiction is the most founded… in any basis of law and facts …… as am going to be leading you will see secondly your honor the state made application in a 16 paragraph to convince you to detain one of the grounds is that a report was done to the effect that there was vandalism and no action was done state has failed to understand the democracy involving action being taken within the structure of Kenya Power”, Omari told the court.

He added that Kenya power is like this judiciary; it is a democracy that can be tempered for lack of funds and lack of adequate personnel to deploy. It cannot be just a motion and I keep saying there was no action.

“I urge the court to take judicial notice that occasionally the state will say they have no resources to give and the report was done on the 9th of December, the alleged offence and state admits that this matter was escalated in the democracy to the top manager. The top management of Kenya power is the CEO”, Omari further added.

According to Omari, the buck stops at the top management and the selective arrest of managers was questionable.

“Is this the first black out in this country? Are we saying all officers who have served at KP and there were blackouts during their tenure since 1963 should be charged? This is a normal occurrence and not like a terrorist attack,” he said.

He said that on December 9 last year, a report was made at ICD police post by administration police officers who were manning the expressway construction about vandalism of tower number seven.

The same, he said, was also reported by KPLC LANsupport system and the management failed to take any action.

“Due to management and inaction, the vandalism was extended to the neighboring tower forcing four Kiambere-Nairobi towers number 11,12,13 and 14 to collapse on January 11 this year,” CI Keith told the court.

The fallen towers caused a countrywide power outage leading to business losses and interruptions of critical and crucial services rendered by various entities to the citizens of Kenya.

He further added that the said systematic sabotage and likely commission of sabotage and likely commission of terrorism act could have resrted into a calamity, mass death and massive destruction of property and unaccountable losses given the high voltage electric current that is conveyed by the said powerline.

“Due to management failure and inaction which led to the collapse pf the four towers and power blackout, the provision is of essential and emergency services were disrupted and interfered with which constitute an act of terrorism,” the officer added.

The officer added that the investigation intends to invite independent engineers to assess the probable loss of tower collapse and review engineers’ incident report.

IGRTC: ACTIVIST IN COURT TO STOP USE OF PRIVATE ACCOUNT TO TRANSACT PUBLIC FUNDS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Activist Okiyah Omtatah wants a private account currently being used to transact public funds closed.

The account at Stanbic Bank is being operated by Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC).

“A conservatory order does issue freezing all operations on personal bank account number 0100005155465 which the 2nd Respondent’s holds at CFC Stanbic Bank, Kenyatta Avenue Branch, Nairobi pending hearing and determination of the application”, urges Omtatah.

Omtatah wants an injunction order issued restraining Peter Leley and Monica Wambua from in anyway howsoever transacting any public funds through personal bank account number 0100005155465 which Wambua holds at CFC Stanbic Bank, Kenyatta Avenue Branch, Nairobi.

He has claimed that Peter Leley, the CEO of the firm, directed funds to an account which is private.

Funds deposited in the account is not subject to any law or even checks and balances, because it is private.

He wants orders granted stopping utilization or transfer of the funds until the case is determined.

He also wants Monica Wambua, who is the organization’s assistant director, found liable for using her private bank account to transact public funds.

IGTRTC took over the mandate of the Transitional Authority and is tasked to establish a framework for consultation and co-operation between the national and county Governments.

It is also tasked with identification, verification and transfer of assets of the devolved units.

“There has been no delay in filing this since the applicant or petitioner has just learnt that on October 19, 2021 or thereabouts, to enable the 1st Interested Party conduct the valuation of public assets, the National Treasury transferred some Sh180 million to the State Department of Devolution, which then transferred the funds to IGRTC but, as the accounting officer, the 1st Respondent (Leley) used his discretion unlawfully to transfer the money to the personal account,” he said in an affidavit.

He wants the court to freeze the operations of the account, pending the determination of the petition.

Omtatah also wants the court to direct the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit all accounts operated by IGRTC, showing the flow of money to and from the said account.

“It is the petitioner’s case that the decision to use a personal account to handle public funds is both unlawful and unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid,” he said.

He says there was no public participation in the decision to use the personal account to handle the Committee’s funds and delaying the case might render the petition useless as the funds might be transferred or spent.

Omtatah further wants the Auditor General ordered to conduct a forensic audit of all IGRTC accounts and file a report in court showing the flow of money from the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee to the said personal bank account which Monica Wambua holds at CFC Stanbic Bank, Kenyatta Avenue Branch, Nairobi, and then onto any third parties.

Omtatah adds that he is apprehensive that the large sums of public funds which have been deposited in the said personal account are exposed since the account is not subject to the checks and balances in law which govern public accounts to safeguard public money.

“The petitioner has established that the use of the personal account to handle public money is based on a letter Ref: IGR/LGL/10/20/Vol. II, dated December 13, 2019, through which the 1st Respondent informed the Branch Manager, CFC Stanbic Bank, Kenyatta Avenue Branch, that large sums of public funds belonging to the Committee would be channelled through the 2nd Respondent’s personal account held at the branch”, he adds.

High Court Anti-Corruption Judge Esther Maina certified the matter as urgent and directed it to be heard on January 25 for hearing and further directions.

CO-OP BANK OFFICIALS RISK JAIL FOR DISOBEYING COURT ORDER.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Top managers of Co-operative Bank risk being jailed for disobedience of court orders directing the lender to allow the administrator of the estate of a woman who died two years ago to operate the account.

George Ndegwa who is the appointed administrator of the estate of Jennifer Muthoni Ndegwa, says the bank has refused to allow him withdraw or deposit funds to the account belonging to the late Muthoni, as directed by the court.

Ndegwa says he obtained letters to administer the estate of Muthoni with the aim of collecting and preserving her assets.

He now wants Jeremiah Nyalala (A. S. O) and Service Manager Elizabeth Karinga based at Stima Plaza branch, jailed for contempt of court after refusing to comply with the order issued on December 30.

Through lawyer Mwangi Mburu, Ndegwa accuses the two bank officials for deliberately disobeying court orders issued on December 30 last year being served with the letters of Administration of Ad ColliGenda Bona and notified to comply.

“The disobedience of Grant has greatly and continues to prejudice the estate of the deceased to the extent that the estate’s property has been seized pursuant to a distress of rent and maybe imminently auctioned and school fee remains unpaid”, says administrator.

He wants the court to summon the duo within seven days and show cause why they should not be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of Sh200, 000 each for willful disobedience of court orders.

Karinga who is the bank service manager is accused of undermining the court order upon reading by saying she won’t obey nor comply with the terms of the grant and the said court order.

“In the morning of December 3,2021, I visited Co-operative Bank Stima Plaza branch and presented the copy of the grant to Elizabeth Karinga (service manager) and upon reading the grant, she immediately made remarks on my copy and further told me she cannot comply with terms of the Grant,” Ndwega told the court.

The estate has and continues to huge financial losses as a result of the Co-operative Bank officials actions.

He urged the court to punish the two officials to prevent further abuse of court process by citing them for contempt.

TRADERS DENY SELLING SH14 MILLION WORTH COUNTERFEIT PHONES.

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BY PHOEBE WANJOHI.

Two businessmen have been charged with being in possession of different counterfeit mobile phone brands worth over Sh14 million.

Muhamed Muhiyadini Abdullahi and Mohamed Abdullahi Maalim appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi and denied the charges.

Muhiyadini and Maalim are accused of being in possession of counterfeit products on November 2, 2021 at Dayyib Communications Shop in Electronic House along Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi CBD.

The products include Samsung A02S 40 pieces valued at Sh 579,960, Samsung A52 46 pieces valued at Sh 1,908,957, among others.

They were each granted a bond of Sh1 million and one surety of a similar amount with alternative cash bail of Sh 400,000 each.

In addition, the court directed each accused to present one contact person upon payment of the cash bail.

WANJIGI IN TROUBLE AFTER COURT ISSUES WARRANT FOR HIS ARREST IN LAND FRAUD CLAIM.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A Nairobi court has issued a warrant for the arrest of embattled businessman Jimmy Wanjigi over an alleged fraud of a land valued at Sh56 million.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi issued the warrant of arrest against Wanjigi and summoned his wife Irene Nzusi Wanjigi and several other persons over claims of conspiracy to defraud.

The police applied for the warrant after the accused persons failed to appear in court as directed. The court heard that the police could not reach them on their phone.

Ochoi heard that an attempt to arrest Wanjigi at his home flopped after the businessman escaped arrest and drove off and locked himself in a building in Westlands.

The charge sheet states that Wanjigi, his wife, John Nynjua Njenga defrauded Kenroid Limited by falsely pretending that they were in position to sell land IR. NO. 65800LR.1870/11/200 Deed plan No. 175145 measuring 0.3314 hectares registered to Auream ltd.

They allegedly committed the offence jointly, on June 21, 2018 at Nairobi city center with intent to defraud and obtained Sh56 million.

The three alongside Himanshu Velji Dodhia alias Himanshu Velji Prechard Dodhia, Kaneez Noorani, Mohamed Hussein Noorani, Mohamed Hussanali, Kairu Augustine Thuo andb John Nyanjua Njenga are accused of forging a title Deed for the said land dated July 20,1993 under the name of Horizon Hills ltd.

The charge states that they committed the offence on diverse dates between April 9,2010 and June 5,2018 at an unknown place jointly with others not before court.

The eight also accused of forging a Deed plan under the name of Dodhia Foam ltd purporting it to be genuine and valid Deed plan signed by survivor Gs Gitau and forging a Grant for the above land under the name of Dodhia foam ltd purporting it to be genuine and valid Grant issued and signed by commissioner of lands Wilson Gacanja.

Wanjigi, his wife and Njenga are also accused of procuring execution of a company by false pretence and uttering false documents with intent to defraud.

KENYA RAILWAYS ACCOUNTANT CHARGED.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

Kenya Railways corporation top accountant has been charged with computer forgery and computer fraud.

Patrick Kareithi Ndengwa appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi and denied the charges.

He is accused that on diverse dates between July 202* and November 2021 he intentionally ultered computer data in Kenya Railways corporation’s payroll system.

He is also charged with fraudulently ultering computer data in Kenya Railways corporation’s payroll’s system occasioning KRC an unlawful loss of Sh317,000.

Kareithi has worked with the corporation for 13 years.

According to police investigation report, Kareithi had been interdicted from his duty on November 18, 2016, due to a gross misconduct that led to the loss of Sh1.14M of funds to the corporation at the time he was the assistant financial accountant in the parastatal.

He was released on bail pending hearing and determination of the fraud case.

CAMEROON NATIONAL DENIES POSSESSING MILLIONS OF FAKE US CURRENCY.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

A Cameroonian has been charged with possessing over Sh 283 million in fake currency.

Timson Tiekam Babila was accused of possessing pieces of papers in 100 denominations equivalent to USD 2.5 million intended to pass as genuine USA currency notes.

The accused is alleged to have committed the offence on January 12 this year at Athi River in Machakos County. Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi heard that he committed the offence jointly with others not before court.

Babila was released on a bond of Sh 10 million pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The accused person was arrested by detectives from the DCI’s Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit (ECCU) for allegedly falsely obtaining money from a Kenyan-based Australian businessman.

According to police reports, Babila, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the syndicate, lures unsuspecting businessmen with the promise of cleaning fake dollar notes and converting them into genuine cash.

“In order to make this happen, the suspect first asks his victims for genuine money for the purchase of chemicals and other materials used to clean the fake notes, usually locked in steel boxes,” the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a statement. 

The DCI continued on to say that the Australian investor had fronted Babila Ksh.800,000 before he realised he was being duped.

CAMEROONIAN FRAUDSTER ARRESTED AFTER CONNING AUSTRALIAN INVESTOR.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

A 36-year-old Cameroonian has been nabbed by police officers after defrauding an Australian investor by claiming that he would supply him with gold.

Timson Tiekam Babila alias Jeremy was arrested by DCI’s Economic and Commercial Crimes (ECCU) at a hotel in Kilimani area following a tip off from the complainant.

According to DCI Kenya official Twitter account, the suspect believed to be a ‘wash wash’ specialist was arrested together with two other accomplices, Ernest Abeng Ahuo and Ayong Ronald Aku, all Cameroonian citizens.

Preliminary investigations reveal that Babila, entices his clients by duping them that they will make quick cash after cleaning their fake dollars and turning the dollars into real money.

In order to make this happen, the suspect first asks his victims for genuine money for the purchase of chemicals and other materials used to clean the fake notes, usually locked steel boxes.

An Australian investor with business interests in Kenya and Dubai had advanced Sh800,000, to the suspects before he discovered that coned.

The Australian made a report at the ECCU offices, leading to the arrest of the Cameroonian.

CONGOLESE IN FAKE SH120 MILLION GOLD SCAM TO REMAIN IN CUSTODY OVER THE WEEKEND AWAITING RULING ON BAIL.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A Congolese national has been charged with obtaining over Sh120 million from a Ukrainian businessman.

Andre Kongolo Tshikangu appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi and denied the fraud charges.

He was accused of obtaining Sh120,090,600 from Kovalenko Hennadii by falsely pretending he was in position to sell to him gold.

The court heard that he committed the offence on diverse dates between January 2018 and November 2018 at Capitol M/s M afrosolution Co. ltd along Kaptei road in Kileleshwa. He is alleged to have committed the offence with others not before court.

The victim’s lawyer opposed his application to be released on bail on grounds that he was a flight risk because he did not have a fixed home.

The court heard that it has taken the investigating officer close to four years to trace and arrest Kongolo.

Further, the court was told that the accused was at flight risk and should therefore not be released on bail until the case is concluded.

Through his lawyer Stanley Kangahi, Kongolo said he has constitutional rights to be freed on bond and that he has a permanent home and also is a Kenyan citizen. He said he will abide by all the bond terms imposed by the court.

The magistrate will rule on Monday on whether to release him on bail or to remain in prison pending trial.