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TRIAL OF DUO ACCUSED OF MILLIONS FROM BANK PUSHED TO JULY.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

The trial of two people accused of stealing Sh. 18.7 million from Bank of Baroda has been pushed to next month.

Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku directed the case against Kevalkumar Navin Maisuria and Brunor Obiero Mwaye to be heard on July 21.

The duo are accused that on April 16 in the year 2016 at Bank’s Industrial area Branch in Nairobi, jointly with others not before court, they stole Sh18,702,000 from the Bank.

Maisura is accused that on the same date and year at the same branch, otherwise than in course of stealing, dishonestly handled Sh18, 702,000 million in the bank account by the name Rovalking Kenya Trading domiciled at the Bank of Baroda Diamond Plaza knowingly or having reasons to believe to have been stolen or obtained unlawfully.

The two are currently out on cash bail.

YOUTH ACTIVIST CHALLENGES ELECTION ACT THAT REQUIRES DEGREE FOR MP, MCAs SEATS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A youth activist has moved to court challenging the constitutionality of section 22 of election Act that requires people contesting parliamentary and civic seats must possess a degree.

In the petition, Gloria Orwoba wants the High Court to declare section 22 of the election Act 2011 unconstitutional, illegal for violation of Article 27, 38, 99, 100, 137,180 and 193 of the constitution.

“A declaration be hereby made that section 22 of the election Act violates, infringes and threatens fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights specifically Article 38 of the Constitution,” says Orwoba.

Orwoba also wants the limitions contained in the Act, requiring contestants to have degrees in all levels of elective posts quashed saying it is not justified in open democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

She claims the said requirements have no rational connection with the objective and the extent of the limitations are unconstitutional, illegal and nullity

Orwoba through lawyer Kariuki Karanja seeks a declaration that the provisions of the section of the Election Act is inconsistent with constitution and therefore null and void.

She points out that the 2019 population census report found that less than 2 percent of Kenyans had a chance to access University education.

As such the 98 percent of Kenyans will have to surrender their political right of representation to the 2 percent whether they like it or not, she says.

She says by glorifying the conventional degree, Parliament failed to consider equalising qualifications attained through skills, experience and knowledge.

She posits that this is despite the fact that the same parliament went ahead and enacted Kenya National Qualification Framework Act 2014.

The Act establishes Kenya National Qualifications Authority whose function includes to define the levels of qualifications and competencies, provide for the recognition of attainment or competencies including skills, knowledge, attitudes and values among other roles.

That the Kenyan government on or about the year 2017 introduced Competency based Curriculum (CBC) designed by the Kenya Institute OF Curriculum Development (KICD). The CBC is designed to emphasize the significance of developing skills and knowledge and also applying those competencies to real life situation.

The introduction of competence-based curriculum confirms that skills, trainings and other knowledge is applicable in real life situations which includes leadership from the statistics provided by Kenya Universities and Colleges Central placement Service (KUCCPS) board in the just released results of the year 2020 KCSE, only 16 % of the candidates will have the privilege/chance to be absorbed in the Universities for degree programmes.

The Petitioner argues it’s a matter of fact that 83.6% of the 2020 KCSE candidates will be locked out and will have to be enroll to other technical training programmes.The Kenyan government in full realization that there are huge number of youths who do not have a chance to join the universities over time, established the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority under the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act 2014.

The Petitioner states that its not reasonable nor justifiable to lock out Kenyans specifically the youths and other marginalized persons from vying as representative of their people just because they do not possess a conventional degree. The Petitioner furthe states that Kenyan population is diverse and consists of minority communities some who even are hunters and gatherers and such communities stand discriminated if the mark for leadership is capped at conventional degree level.

OMTATAH WANTS COURT TO FREEZE BIDS FOR MUMIAS SUGAR REVIVAL.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

An activist has moved to court seeking temporarily suspend a directive by Senate to Mumias Sugar Company receiver manager Ponangipalli Venkata Ramana Rao from inviting bids from investors to salvage the troubled miller.

“The matter is extremely urgent since the on June 9, 2021 or thereabouts, the Senate’s Agriculture Committee looking into the affairs of troubled Mumias Sugar Company (the Company) directed the 1st Respondent, the Receiver Manager, to within 14 days re-advertise the bid to salvage the troubled Mumias Sugar Company,” Okiya Omtatah said in a petition.

According to Omtatah, the Senate got involved after it emerged that the Receiver Manager was engaged in a secretive bidding process to purportedly identify a strategic investor for the Company. 

In the petition, Omtatah says it is only when Rao was summoned to the Senate that he disclosed that he had invited eight investors.

The companies include Catalysis Group of Russia, Sarrai Group of Uganda, Kruman Associates (France), Kibos Sugar and Devki Group, which are both from Kenya, Premier JV (India), Third Gate Capital Management and Godavari Enterprises, India. 

It has also emerged that none of the eight bidders he secretly invited to bid had the capacity to revive the company, leading to fears that a plan was underway to dispose the company off to Rao’s cronies for a song. 

Omtatah says that the fears that the Receiver Manager is conflicted were further reinforced by the fact that, while he was the receiver manager at Kwale Sugar Company he sold scrap metal to the purported lead bidder, Devki Steel Millers Ltd.

He also claimed the receiver manager took over the Company to ostensibly “protect its assets and to the best extent maintain its operations,” yet the company was processing ethanol, from molasses bought mainly from the neighbouring Butali and Busia sugar companies. 

In the court documents, Omtatah says that instead of reviving the company, Rao has mismanaged the ethanol operations and shut them down in March 2021, thus halting all manufacturing operations at the company.

Also, without proper planning, he ploughed 677 hectares of the Nucleus Estate but failed to plant sugarcane on some 307 HA, letting the effort go to waste. 

He adds that he is aggrieved that close to two years after taking over in 2021, the receiver manager has not published a general statement of affairs on the assets and liabilities of the company as at the time he took over and made known the efforts he has taken to protect the assets of the company and the interests of investors (including farmers), creditors, and other parties. 

He also said Rao has not published periodic reports on what he has done to reduce the KCB Group debt that is responsible for the receivership or published a general statement of affairs on the current state of the assets and liabilities of the company. 

He reiterates that he is aggrieved that the receiver manager has been on site for close to two years with nothing positive to show for it. 

“To make matters worse, he has neglected many assets of Mumias Sugar Company, including the Nucleus Estate and machinery, resulting in the company making huge losses due to the deterioration of the assets,” he adds

Omtatah also points out that the neglected assets, especially the nucleus estate which has been left to grow wild, pose a danger to the public. 

“Whereas when a company is put in receivership certain rights of its owners are extinguished, and the appointed receiver takes control of the asset and works solely in the interests of the secured creditor, and the receiver may either liquidate the business or revive it, the case of Mumias different.

“The company was set up to implement the Mumias Sugar Scheme to benefit sugarcane farmers in western Kenya and its environs and the general public,” he adds. 

He adds that because of the Government’s 20 percent shareholding in the company, and the fact that the company sits on land being acquired for the public purpose of setting up a sugar factory to serve sugarcane farmers and to support the economy of the wider western Kenya region, a public interest arises in how the receiver manager is running the company given the fact that the ‘public’ land is idle, and is not being put to the purpose for which it was ‘acquired’. 

“It is clear that the receiver manager who has been on site for some two years now has failed in his mission to protect the Company’s assets and to the best extent maintain its operations. Instead, he has completely shut down the company and is en route to nailing the last nail in the coffin of Mumias Sugar Scheme,” he said.

JALANGO DENIES SH4 MILLION GOLD FRAUD CHARGES.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A businessman has been charged before a Nairobi court with obtaining over Sh4 million in fake gold fraud.

Felix Jacob Jalango appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi and denied the charge.

Jalango is accused that on diverse dates between October 7 and 30 last year at Nairobi central business district, with others not before court and with intent to defraud, he obtained Sh4,030,000 from Amunga Andanje.

It is alleged that Jalango pretended to Andanje that he was in position to sell gold, a fact he knew was false. 

He was released on a bond of Sh300,000 and Sh100,000. 

Prosecution has listed five witnesses to testify in the trial.

POLICE ALLOWED TO DETAIN DRIVER WHO CRUSHED TO DEATH POLICE COMMANDER’S DAUGHTER.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

The police have been allowed to hold a matatu driver who caused a death of a daughter of a senior police officer through dangerous driving.

Patrick Macharia Magu will be held at Central police station for four days to allow police complete investigations to establish the cause of death of Nelly Waithera, the daughter of Deputy Inspector General of police Edward Mbugua.

The investigating officer corporal Peter Ndirangu told resident Magistrate Esther Kimilu that post-mortem has been conducted on the body of the 25 year-old woman but the police wanted to complete the process before preferring charges against the driver. 

The officer added that the prosecution witnesses have not recorded statements and the police are yet to establish where Macharia resides, hence he is a flight risk.

Macharia was the driver of matatu KBR 014B registered under KMO sacco, which plies Westlands route. 

The incident occurred along junction of Tom Mboya and Maragua lane where the driver while reversing the matatu sandwiched the pedestrian alongside another motor vehicle thus death.

PROPERTIES BELONGING TO MAN LINKED TO FAKE GREENHOUSES INVESTMENT FROZEN BY COURT.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Several properties associated with businessman Peter Muriithi, the owner of Goldenscape ltd have been frozen over claims of money laundering.

Muriithi and the companies including Goldenscape Trees Africa Limited, Goldenscape Greenhouse limited, Silverstone properties limited were barred from transferring several parcel of land in Ngong, and Rumuruti in Laikipia county.

Five of the parcels are registered under Murithi’s name located at Ndarumo, while ten others are under Silverstone located in Ngong and another registered under Goldenscape Group.

High Court judge James Wakiaga also barred Muriithi from transferring or selling five motor vehicles and six motorcycles.

“An Order be and is hereby issued directing the respective Land registrars to register a caveat against the titles of each of the land parcels specified in order,” ruled the judge.

The court also directed the Director General National Transport and Safety Authority to register a caveat against the titles or records of each of the motor vehicles and motor cycles specified in the order.

Assets Recovery Agency moved to court seeking to prohibit Muriithi and the companies from transferring the properties, pending the determination of a case the agency has filed.

“Court do issue Preservation Orders prohibiting Muriithi, his employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on his behalf from transacting, transferring or dealing in any manner howsoever in respect of the following land parcels,” urged the agency.

ARA told the court that it suspects the properties are proceeds of crime.

The agency told the court on July 9, last year the Director ARA received information on a suspected case of defrauding members of public, racketeering, obtaining money by false pretense and money laundering committed by the Respondents

Preliminary investigations established that Muriithi and the companies were involved in a suspected scheme of money laundering using funds from members of the public.

The funds were later transferred to bank accounts belonging to companies and business entities owned by Muriithi and ultimately using the illegitimately acquired funds to purchase the properties in the various names of the companies named in the case.

“There is imminent danger the Respondents shall dispose, transfer and dissipate the said properties as there are no Court Orders currently preserving the assets in issue,” urged the agency.

BDCO’S BID TO APPEAL SH22. 4 MILLION DUES AWARDED TO FORMER EMPLOYEES FLOPS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

Bidco Africa Limited has suffered a major blow in an attempt to overturn award of millions granted to it former employees.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an application by edible oil company Bidco Africa ltd, seeking to overturn an award of Sh22.4 million granted to some 296 former employees.

Bidco will now have to pay the former employees.

The appellate court rejected the application by the company, to file an appeal for inordinate delay.

Appellate court judge Patrick Kiage dismissed the case saying the reasons advanced by the company are neither excusable nor satisfactory.

“All of them could have been mitigated if counsel and the firm in general were vigilant. I do not dispute that the courts scaled down operations as per the directive of the then Chief Justice David Maraga.

However, the Chief Justice subsequently issued practice directions on electronic case management,” the Judge said dismissing claims that the company was unable to file the appeal because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The judge said former Chief Justice David Maraga issued directions including e-filing of documents, e-payment and e-service of documents using email and WhatsApp platforms.

“The Rules of this Court must be adhered to by parties at all times and parties in default should place material before the Judge whose favourable discretion is sought to show that they tried as much as possible to comply with them even when faced with challenges,” Justice Kiage said.

The company wanted to appeal against the decision issued in July 2018, directing it to pay each of the 296 employee on month’s salary in lieu of notice, for each completed year of service.

This was after the former employees sued the company for unfair termination. The workers had claimed that the company failed to recognise them as permanent employees despite working for long periods.

They also claimed that they had been forced to sign new contracts without taking into account the period they had previously served.

The former workers later went on strike after which they were sacked.

Although Justice Nelson Abuodha dismissed the claim that the sacking was unfair, he ordered that each be paid.

The company later disputed the tabulation done by the court and pursued the appeal only to claim that the intention of challenging the decision was hampered by the pandemic, which saw the closure of its office and a clerk being locked in Machakos following travel restrictions, which were issued last year.

Bidco said the delay was occasioned by unprecedented circumstances and the company ought not to be penalized for it.

BLOW TO OCHUODHA AS COURT ALLOWS USE OF BANK TRANSACTIONS IN GRAFT CASE.

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Former Kenya Pipeline Company director Shem Odongo Ochuodho and director of Triple A Capital Ltd Theresia Wanjiku alias Terry Wijenje before Nairobi Anti-curruption court during the hearing case against them.

BY PHOEBE WANJOHI.

Former Kenya Pipeline Company managing Director Shem Ochuodho and a director of Triple A Capital have lost their bid to block Prosecution from using several bank statements.

This is after Anti-corruption Court allowed Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji to use several Standard Chartered Bank statements against Ochuodho and Janice Theresia Wanjiku Kiarie alias Terry Wijenje.

The bank statements shows the transactions between the lender, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and a company at the centre of Sh1.6 billion graft case involving former KPC boss Shem Ochuodho.

Trial court Magistrate Douglas Ogoti allowed a prosecution witness to table bank documents in the case despite opposition from the Ochuodho and a director of Triple A Capital, who are accused of defrauding KPC the millions.

Magistrate Ogoti ruled that no evidence should be left out in the case which has been pending in court for over 10 years and the contested documents meet the threshold of the evidence act.

“I hereby allow the documents marked by the Prosecution witnesses (Standard Chartered Bank legal advisor David Mwisaka) to be adduced as exhibits in the case,” ordered Ogoti.

In 2019 the court had summoned the witness- Mwasika- who was the legal advisor of the bank after the bank records produced in court were said to be destroyed adding that they have a data retention policy and original documents can only be retained for seven years then destroyed.

He however sought for time to be allowed to go to their historical records to confirm if the bank had the documents. He later came and produced a list of 26 documents related to the case while giving his testimony to be used as evidence.

The defence team had also opposed the use of photocopies, saying it will only accept original copies in the matter.

In the graft case, Ochuodho is charged alongside the chairman of the board directors of KPC and Directors of Triple A Capital Limited, Janice Theresia Wanjiku Kiarie alias Terry Wijenje.

Prosecution alleges that on diverse dates between May 2003 and July 2004 in Nairobi Ochuodho jointly with other board member’s conspired to defraud KPC of Sh 827, 564, 608,20.

They are accused of entering into a refinancing arrangement which required KPC to pay Triple A Capital Limited Credit charges amounting to Kshs, 827, 564,608,20 on account of Triple Capital Limited paying KPC’s international Creditors amounts owed by KPC, whereas Triple A Capital Limited had no money to pay the said creditors.

Ochuodho is also accused of fraudulently instructing Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya to pay Triple A Capital limited Sh1,250,577, 549 from KPC’s account purporting it to be a refund on account of Triple A Capital limited having paid a similar sum to KPC’s International Creditor, Export Development Canada (EDC) yet no such payment had been made by Triple A Capital limited and on behalf of KPC to EDC.

He is further accused on December 28, 2003 jointly fraudulently instructed the lender to pay Triple A Capital limited Sh397, 699,893 from KPC’s account purporting it to be refund on Triple A Capital limited.

The former MD also charged with misuse of public office by improperly conferring a benefit of Sh 99,045,774 on Triple A Capital by signing a Deed of assignment of debt on behalf of Kenya Pipeline Company limited.
Triple A Directors and the firm are facing a charge of fraudulent acquisition of public property.

They are accused on December 31, 2003 in Nairobi being Directors of Triple A Company Limited, jointly fraudulently acquired a public property Sh 1,691,791 ,968 by purporting that they had paid a debts owed by KPC to its creditors , Export Development Canada (EDC) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) under a refinance agreement, yet no such payment had been made by Triple A Capital limited on behalf of KPC to EDC and JBIC.

The accused persons are each out on a cash bail of Sh 2 million.

WITNESS TELLS HOW PETROL STATION ASSOCIATED WITH SAMBURU GOVERNOR WAS PAID MILLIONS.

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BY SAM ALFAN.

A Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) official has told a Nairobi court that a Maralal petrol station associated with Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal was paid millions through various bank transactions from Samburu County Government.

KCB Maralal branch manager Johnstone Kirui produced before Senior Principal Magistrate Thomas Nzyoki documents showing how a petrol station associated with the Governor, was paid millions from May 9, 2013. The said the county government paid the petrol station using cheques of between Sh100,000 and above.

He told the court that between May 9 to December 24, 2013, Oryx Service Station had received total of Sh3,284,760 from Samburu County Government. On May 9, 2013, Oryx Service Station received Sh375,470.

In the case Lenolkulal is charged alongside county secretary Stephen Siringa Letinina, Chief County Secretary Danuel Nakuo Lenolkirina, Josephine Naamo Lenasalia, Reuben Marumben Lemunyete. Linus Milton Lenolngenje, Paul Lolmingani, Benard Ltarasi Lesurmat, Lililian Balanga , Andrew Ropilo Lanyasunya, David England Loosenge and Geofrey Barun Kitewan.

The charges against them states that between March 27, 2013 and March 25, 2019 at Maralal town within Samburu County being Governor of Samburu county conspired to commit an offence of corruption namely abuse of office leading to unlawful payment of Sh84,695,996,55 to Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal Oryx Service station.

Lenolkulal and Hesbon Jack Wachira Ndathi are accused that between March 27,2013 and March 25,2019 within Samburu county being the Governor od Samburu County and Private person , they unlawfully acquired public property worth Sh. 84, 695,996.55 for the supply of fuel to Samburu County Government through Oryx Service Station.

The Governor and co-accused are out after depositing cash bail of Sh10 million each.

NIS SENIOR OFFICER CHARGED.

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BY NT CORRESPONDENT.

A senior National Intelligence Service(NIS) officer attached at Elgeyo Marakwet County has been charged with obtaining Sh350,000 and being in possession of six rolls of bhang.

Simon Wanjau Mwaura appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Jane Kamau and denied three charges.

It is alleged that on November 23, 2018 at Transami Area along Airport North Road in Embakasi Sub County within Nairobi County, Wanjau jointly with another before Court with intent to defraud obtained 350,000 from former Kenya Defense Forces officer Sammy Kipserem by falsely pretending that he was in a position to take his son to Australia for further studies,a fact he knew to be false.

He also faced another count that on June 10,2021 at around 6.30pm at Lakeview Estate in Iten township in Elgeyo Marakwet County was found in possession of six rolls of Cannabis Sativa (bhang} valued at Sh 120 which was not prepared for medicinal use.

The prosecution further accuses Mwaura that on the same date and place having been detained by Chief Inspector Eunice Njue and Police Constable George Mwangi as a result of powers conferred by Section 26 of the Criminal Procedure code was found in possession of 3 Motor Vehicles number plates reasonably suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained.

The accused persons further sought to have his personal items namely his two mobile phones and his car which were taken by arresting officers to be released back to him.

Prosecution did not oppose to the officer being released.

The accused was released on a bond of Sh 500,000 or a cash bail of Sh 300,000 with two contact persons.

The case will be mentioned on June 29 for pretrial.

He is accused of obtaining the said money in 2018 claiming he will assist the son of former Kenya Defence Forces officer to go for further studies in Australia.

According to the court records, Samuel Kipyengon was charged with obtaining Sh350, 000 from the KDF officer Sammy Kipserem. He denied the charges and was released on cash bail.