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KCB GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW CEO IN CHANGES.

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Paul Russo who has been appointed as the company’s Group Chief Executive Officer.

BY PHOEBE WANJOHI.

KCB Group has appointed Paul Russo as the company’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) replacing long serving boss Joshua Oigara.

Russo takes over from Oigara immediately after turning around the lender into a regional giant.

The lender said in a statement that Russo’s appointment follows a competitively run selection process that kicked off in March 2022.

The bank added that Oigara will be available for a period of time to support a smooth transition

Before the new changes, Russo was the Managing Director National Bank of Kenya and the KCB Group Regional Business Director.

He has over 20 years of work experience spanning executive and key roles including Group Human Resources Director, KCB Group Plc.

“Paul brings a wealth of experience in banking, operational management, people management, strategy, and a sharp business acumen,” the lender said in a statement.

Russo holds a Senior Executive Program for Africa Certificate from Harvard Business School and a Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management from the Institute of Human Resource Management (Kenya).

“Paul has consistently been a great leader of outstanding performance. Over the past 8 years while at KCB, he has been involved in the running of key strategic assignments within the Group business, lately looking after the regional businesses (KCB’s businesses in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan as well as KCB Capital and KCB Bancassurance Intermediary) and National Bank of Kenya,” KCB added.

The lender added that Russo was the right person for the job and will take the Group to the next level in its growth ambitions to become the undisputed regional leader and drive much-needed business transformation for greater impact of economies and communities.

“During his tenure at NBK, he has executed a significant turnaround, moving the previously loss making business into profitability and on a trajectory for stronger growth into the future,” said the Group Chairman.

The Board also commended the outgoing CEO for his service to the Group since joining in 2011. “Joshua has had a fantastic run as the Group CEO and MD and has led the Group through its fastest growth in a decade.

MAN LINKED TO MIREMA SHOOTING TO BE HELD FOR TWO WEEKS.

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Denis Karani Gachoki before Milimani Chief Magistrate courts where he was detained pending investigations./PHOTO BY IRENE ONYANGO.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

 A Nairobi court has allowed the police to detain a key suspect in the murder of Samuel Mugota Mugota who was shot dead on Mirema Drive a few days ago.

Milimani senior resident magistrate Caroline Muthoni allowed police to detain Denis Karani Gachoki for 14 days pending conclusion of investigation into the murder that was captured on CCTV.

Police officers attached at Kasarani police station said they are still analyzing numerous numbers used by Karani to ascertain whether he is linked with the murder and possibly lead to the arrest of his accomplices.

The court heard that Karani was a flight risk for failing to present himself immediately to the police, even after learning that he was wanted by the police through the DCI Facebook wall on May 20.

The man presented himself to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters at Mazingira House on Monday accompanied by his lawyer. He denied reports linking him to the murder and said he was in Nakuru when the shooting happened.

The DCI through police corporal Kapario Lekakeny told the court that the alleged offence occurred on May 16, at around 1350hrs at Mirema in Kasarani Sub County.

The police claim that Karani together with Mugota and others yet to be arrested operated an elaborate stupefying syndicate and the murder is attributed to a deal gone sour.

Despite him surrendering, Karani failed to produce his mobile phone which is believed to possess vital information that would assist the investigators, therefore the investigating officer requested time to travel to Nakuru and Mombasa to collect further evidence.

“The respondent has no fixed has no fixed place of aboard, he is believed to reside in Kiambu, Nakuru and Mombasa and I require time to identify his places to recover the firearm and other dangerous weapons suspected to be in one of the houses,” Corporal Kapario said.

WIN FOR BUSINESSMAN HUMPHREY KARIUKI AS COURT QUASHES CHARGES.

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CAPTION -Businessman Humphrey Kariuki with his lawyer Cecil Miller leaving Milimani law courts./PHOTO BY S.A.N

DPP cannot donate duties to KRA, court rules.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The KRA has lost a Sh17 billion claim against business man Humphrey Kariuki over alleged tax evasion.

High Court Judge Anthony Mrima also nullified a gazette notice by the DPP appointing prosecutors from KRA to handle the matter.

“Whereas KRA can investigate any offence relating to violation of tax laws, it cannot prosecute such matters in Court,” ruled the judge.

He said it was illegal for KRA officers to undertake duties reserved for the DPP’s office.

The DPP too does not have any lawful mandate to delegate his authority to KRA officers.

Kariuki had been charged together with directors of Wines of the World (WOW) and African Spirits ltd including Peter Njenga, Robert Thinji Mureithi, Eric Mulwa Nzomba and Kefa Gakure.

Kariuki and his co-accused faced a charge of being in possession of uncustomed goods where the prosecution alleged that he was holding 80 drums of 250 litres each of ethanol valued at Sh7,402,958 without paying tax. 

They had also been charged with omitted from the VAT returns of Africa Spirits Limited an amount of Sh2.1 billion and another count of omitting from the return of excise of Sh5.9 billion.

Through lawyer Cecil Miller, Kariuki and his co-accused argued that the case seeking to recover Sh17 billion from them was malicious, unconstitutional and without any legal backing because tax assessment issued to the African Spirits after a comprehensive audit was Sh1 billion.

Miller argued that a charge sheet originating from the police instead of the DPP was illegal.

In the matter, the charge sheet was signed the officer in charge of Muthaiga Police Station.

The DPP defended the decision to charge stating that the charge sheet was brought by the police upon multi-agency investigations being done and were subsequently registered by the DCI and upon reviewing the investigations, he preferred the charges.

Justice Mrima said in the decision that investigations and prosecution cannot be conducted by the same entity regardless of whether the prosecution is undertaken by the DPP or by any other entity.

EACC SEEKS TO RECOVER MILLIONS FROM ISIOLO COUNTY OFFICIALS OVER THE PURCHASE OF FIRE ENGINE.

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Isiolo County Government Fire Engine.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has filed a case to recover Sh58 million from Isiolo County government officials used in the purchase of a fire engine whose price was exaggerated.

The EACC further says the acquisition of the fire engine was unlawful as it was done against the provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal of Act and regulations.

The anti-graft body wants the officials Ali Wako, Dr Salad Sarite, John Nkuraru, Kennedy Murimi, Abdinasir Ali, Qanchora Abduba, Jabril Hassan, Bashir Mamo and Drescoll ltd compelled to pay Sh58.5 million.

“In the alternative, Sh33,060,000 against the defendants jointly and severally,” adds the agency.

The anti-graft body says investigations established that the Turkish Ivaco fire engine supplied to the county government was exaggerated as the market value for the same does not exceed 25.5 million.

It is the argument of EACC that what was paid to acquire the fire engine constitutes proceeds of corruption or corrupt conduct which the agency is entitled to seek recovery.

The commission further argued that the contract awarded to Drescoll ltd under Tender NO. ICG/003/2017/2018 arising from fraudulent misrepresentation and flawed procurement process was illegal, null and void.

The agency accuses Wako, Ali, Qanchora and Jabril Hassan of abuse of office for preparing payment vouchers for advance payment of 50 percent of the contract knowing it to be contrary to section 147(1) of the Public Procurement & Asset Disposal Act, 2015.

According to the Commission, by making advance payment of Sh29 million to Drescoll ltd, the officials abused their office by improperly conferring a benefit to the said company, contrary to section 121 of the Public Finance Act, 2012 and section 147(1) of the Public Procurement & Asset Act, 2015

Investigations further established that Isiolo county government chief officer public works, housing and Urban development Adan Kadubo knowingly forwarded specifications for a Turkish Iveco Truck to the Chief Engineer for purposes of inspection, which fire engine differed from the Sinotruck undertaken to be delivered in the bid document submitted to Drescoll ltd.

DCI AND DPP AT LOGGERHEADS OVER GUIDELINES ON TERRORISM OFFENCES.

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Director of Criminal Investigations(DCI) George Kinoti who has disowned DPP Noordin Haji terrorism guidelines.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has disowned guidelines on terrorism cases launched by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji.

DCI boss George Kinoti and Anti-terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) Senior Superintendent of Police said they will be guided by the said guidelines in the investigation of terrorism and terror-related offenses.

Kinoti, through Senior Superintendent of police Martin Otieno of the Anti-terror police unit said the never received any letter from the DPP in regard to the said guidelines.

“The guidelines as stated are unconstitutional and the DCI shall never accede to being guided by the same in investigations of terrorism and terrorism offenses,” Otieno swore in an affidavit.

The guidelines state among other provisions that the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) should notify DPP before making any arrests.

Additionally, ATPU should also inform DPP when planning to apply for search warrants or detention orders against suspects.

While responding to a suit filed an activist Mamba Ocharo who has challenged the guidelines, Kinoti said the guidelines shall have a negative ripple effect to the war on terrorism worldwide and are meant to ridicule the functions of the security organs as laid down in the constitution.

He says DCI has an unmatched training facility-DCI academy which offers investigations courses that meet international standards to its officers and also has a fully-fledged legal department with experienced advocates of the High Court who guides the Directorate in legal matters.

Ocharo moved to court seeking to suspend the implementation of the guidelines pending the hearing and determination of his case saying DPP can only direct Inspector General of Police to investigate.

He claimed the guidelines were allegedly developed with a technical committee composed of the relevant criminal justice system actors. He further said the same was done by DPP arbitrarily without involving key players in the criminal justice system.

Ocharo argued that none of the investigative agencies recognized and mandated were invited to meeting to validate the guidelines.

“The ATPU are strangers to the alleged Technical Committee neither did they attend the said meeting that in which the stated guidelines emanated,” he argues.
In response to the suit, the DCI agreed saying the guidelines are casually and clandestine aimed at certain groups of people.

Through Senior Superintendent of Police Otieno DCI claims that the DPP can only direct the IG to investigate any information brought to his attention and not in his knowledge.

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji with Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti in past.

“The 5th and 6th Respondents(DCI and ATPU) disassociate themselves from the said regulations in totality and pray that the court puts an abrupt stop to its implementation from the nest interest of the country , its citizens , future generations and the ever-integrated global,” said Kinoti.

Kinoti says the intelligence gathered by the security organs is confidential and requires high level clearance for its access and dissemination of such sensitive matters of national security would jeopardize investigations.

Kinoti has expressly distanced himself with the formulation and validation of the stated guidelines and the same do not reflect the law arguing that if the court does not declare the guidelines unconstitutional, it will hinder and cripple the investigations on terrorism with ripple effect on the National Security.

According to Kinoti, Haji’s action of formulating guidelines in disguise of enhancing collaboration and cooperation on investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing is an act of indirectly micromanaging independent constitutional offices within the criminal justice system.

DUBAI FIRM ACCUSES KCB AND RECEIVER MANAGER RAO OF PREYING ON DISTRESSED COMPANIES.

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Kenya Commercial Bank/PHPTO BY S.A.N.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Dubai based Vartox Resources Inc has accused Kenya Commercial Bank and its receiver manager PVR Rao of auctioning properties of distressed companies at throwaway prices.

In papers filed in court, Vartox alleges that Rao and the lender are part of a syndicate that sells properties of troubled firms at gross undervalue.

The company has cited several cases including a case involving Tahir Sheikh Said Grain Millersltd(TSS), whose property was allegedly sold at a price 50 percent lower than the actual value.

“Vartox has since learnt that there is a market trend where Rao is the common denominator in massive companies where assets of significant value are at play,” says Kristian Khachatourian, a director of the company.

He said in the case of TSS, assets worth colossal amounts were sold at 50 percent of the value, yet there were existing court challenges against Rao, KCB and the purchaser in relation to the dealings with the TSS assets.

Through lawyer Abbas Ishmael, Vartox says it has unearthed that TSS was a distressed company where Rao was appointed as administrator in 2016 and his administration has been perpetually extended year on year.

The court documents reveal that TSS owned several assets which included a grain milling plant, machinery, silos and other movable assets and all of TSS’ grain milling assets in Mombasa.

He said on December 17, 2019, Rao sold all the movable assets for Sh350 million notwithstanding there was an offer of Sh810 million two years earlier.

The firm made allegations in reply to an appeal filed by Gakwamba farmers, who are seeking to reinstate a 20-year-lease granted to Sarrai Group to manage ailing Mumias Sugar Company ltd.

The firm says the property, which had been sold was allegedly transferred by KCB to a third party in 2017, under unclear circumstances and the assets were later charged to the lender to secure a loan of Sh600 million.

“On 27 December 2019, the same date the movable assets were sold by Rao, KCB, despite not being the registered owner of the land, entered into a sale agreement and sold the land for KES 300 million,” he said in a sworn statement.

Kristian added that the buyer of the movable assets Jamii Flour Millers ltd and the company later changed its names to Ustawi Grain Millers ltd (Ustawi) on January 20, 2020, less than a month after acquiring the property and the assets.

Ustawi, he said, is owned and controlled by the same family that controls the firm that had won the lease to run Mumias- Sarbjit Singh Rai, Amaanraj Rai and Rajbir Rai.

According to Kristian the same persons are the shareholders of Sarrai and less than a year after the property was sold for Sh300 million to Ustawi, Ustawi secured a loan of USD 14,715,000 against the property “a property which KCB sold and Ustawi purchased for Sh300 million was now capable of securing a loan of more than Sh1. 4 billion”.

“The law is well settled, there is an obligation on lenders such as KCB by section 97(3) of the Land Act, 2012 which requires them to ensure that a property is not sold below 75% of its market value,” says Kristian.

Kristian further said the actions of Rao and KCB in the TSS case are reminiscent of their nefarious intentions in the Mumias case.

Vartox is apprehensive that if Rao and KCB are allowed back at Mumias, the miller will suffer the same fate as TSS as its assets will be plundered.

“The above facts are evidence that Rao, KCB and Sarrai have had a relationship for years now and is therefore proof that the selection of Sarrai by Rao as the lessee of Mumias ‘ assets was not only deliberate and intentional but a calculated move by Rao and KCB to swindle other bidders and creditors of Mumias,” says Vartox.

ACTIVIST SEEKS TO RE-OPEN MURDER OF TWO PEOPLE LINKED TO SENATOR LINTURI.

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Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

An activist has moved to court seeking the exhumation of the body of a former employee of Meru senator Mithika Linturi, who died more than three years ago.

Michael Makarena says in a petition filed before the High Court that the body of Edith Kamau, who died in Linturi’s House on October 6, 2018, should be exhumed and the cause of her death established.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, Makarena also wants the death of Linturi’s former business partner Dr Stanley Maore Mugwika investigated.

Further, he wants the academic qualifications of Linturi investigated, claiming that his graduate certificates are forged.

According to lawyer Omari, Linturi was and is still the prime suspect in the deaths of Kananu and Maore.

“Linturi redacted some of the words sent to him via sms by his former partner’s wife about his death,” said Omari.

He added that Kananu was buried without a postmortem being done hence the order to exhume her remains.

Maurice Amwai, an officer attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) says in an affidavit that the Meru senator who is also seeking to replace Kiraitu Murungi as the governor, is a person of interest in an ongoing investigation. He said Linturi is a habitual offender.

The officer states that senator had omitted some of the statements after receiving a text from the Maore’s wife which raises suspicious concerns as to why he omitted such information.

The DCI has officially opened an inquisition to ascertain the circumstances under which the deceased died since the body was buried before carrying out a postmortem.

“The 3rd party ensured that he persecuted Dr Stanley Maore through the media for every case that he maliciously, deceptively lodged against him to attain maximum psychological persecution,” the officer said.

“We humbly urge this court to protect and save all victims, widows, orphans, the hopeless those in fear of Linturi who is bribing his way through the criminal justice system,” reads the affidavit.

On the death of Kananu, he said the DCI has opened an inquest and investigations are ongoing to ascertain the circumstances under which the deceased died.

The officer claims that there is blackmail, intimidation and all other manner of dirty tricks to ensure that the cause of death is concealed and never to be established.

“That nobody will suffer prejudice if an order for exhumation and postmortem is granted to establish the cause of death of the late Edith Kananu who was murdered through poisoning.

JUDGE MUYA BACK IN OFFICE AFTER THREE-YEAR SUSPENSION.

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High Court Judge Martin Muya who has been reinstated by Supreme Court.

BY SAM ALFAN.

The Supreme Court has reinstated the embattled High court judge Martin Muya after staring at a sack and staying on suspension for about three years.

A bench of five judges led by Justice Mohammed Ibrahim said delay in giving reasons in a ruling for five months does not amount to gross misconduct.

The judges ruled that it was not proved that NCBA, the complainant in the matter, lost Sh76 million as claimed.

“Obviously, the Bank encountered inconvenience and even some irritation by that decision, but no loss or prejudice was shown,” Justices Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaona and William Ouko said.

A tribunal chaired by retired appellate Judge Alnashir Visram had recommended the removal of Justice Muya in a report presented to President Kenyatta on March 17, 2020.

Other members of the tribunal were retired High Court Judge Festus Azangalala, Senior Counsel Lucy Kambuni, lawyers Ambrose Weda and Andrew Bahati Mwamuye. Also in the team were Sylvia Wanjiku Muchiri and Amina Abdalla.

High court judge Martin Muya lawyer Philip Nyachoti during the hearing of the petition challenging Tribunal recommendation.

The Supreme Court said although the Tribunal has wide powers in the process of investigating any of the grounds for removal of a judge, it acted in excess of its mandate.

This is because it considered issues pending determination in the High Court or introducing matters that were not before Justice Muya when he made the decision in 2017.

“The Tribunal’s recommendation to the President to remove the Petitioner from office under Article 168(7)(b) of the Constitution is likewise set aside”,  the Supreme Court ruled.

Justice Muya moved to the Supreme Court through lawyer Philip Nyachoti seeking to quash the decision of the tribunal, saying the decision was wrong.

Nyachoti told the judges of the Supreme Court there is no evidence at all to suggest or disclose any gross misbehavior or misconduct on the part of the Judge Muya.

 “We urge the court to set aside the Tribunal’s report dated March 17, 2020 to President Uhuru Kenyatta recommending the removal of Justice Muya from office and thereby exonerate him of all the allegations and make appropriate order in the circumstances,” lawyer Nyachoti submitted during the hearing.

He added that allegations of gross misconduct and misbehavior against Justice Muya were not substantiated at all and indeed lacked sufficient gravity to warrant or justify removal from office.

“Tribunal erred in law and in fact by finding that the JSC’s proceedings, and the consequent Report, Findings and Recommendation of the JSC met the required procedural threshold and safeguards applicable to that forum in respect of the Appellant and finding that the delay in the Appellant giving reasons for his Ruling dated May 30, 2017 was unjustifiable and inordinate and that the reasons given by the Appellant for the delay were neither sufficient nor credible or justifiable”, Nyachoti submit. 

He accused the tribunal for deviating from and failing to apply the correct standard of proof.

Two complaints were lodged against the judge before the Judicial Service Commission. The first complaint was raised by Onyikwa and Company Advocates on behalf of NCBA bank .

They accused the judge of mishandling a case between the lender and Alfred Kipkorir Mutai and Kipsigis Stores Limited.

The second complaint was filed by the firm of Mukite Musangi & Company Advocates on behalf of their client, Kenya Commercial Bank which arose from the matter between Alfred Kipkorir Mutai & Kipsigis Stores and KCB.

In both complaints, the judge was accused of taking “more than” five months to give reasons for the ruling delivered on 30th May 2017.

It was also alleged that by directing the said ruling that the status quo be maintained, the judge caused a great financial loss to NIC Bank in the sum of Sh76,159,411.

AGENT CHARGED WITH STEALING MILLIONS FROM EMPLOYER.

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Anthony Murigi Njenga before Milimani Court where he was charged with stealing by servant/PHOTO BY IRENE ONYANGO.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

An agent of a transport firm has been charged with stealing more than Sh4 million from his employer.

Anthony Murigi Njenga appeared before Milimani senior resident magistrate Caroline Muthoni accused of stealing money which came into his possession by virtue of his employment.

The court heard that Murigi committed the offence on diverse dates between June 7, 2021 and June 22, 2021 at Upper Hill, in Nairobi County.

He was the agent of Premium Movers Ltd and the charge sheet stated that he received the money into his account for hiring out lorries to transport ballast to China Civil Engineering construction corporation Kenya Ltd, in mombasa.

The court ordered him to deposit a bond of Sh2 million or an alternative cash bail of a similar amount, to secure his release.

The case will be mentioned on June 2, for directions on pretrial.

CONTROVERSIAL BUSINESSWOMAN JOYCE AKINYI LOSSES TWO VEHICLES TO STATE.

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Controversial businesswoman Joyce Akinyi who has lost two vehicles to state.

BY IRENE ONYANGO.

Businesswoman Joyce Akinyi has suffered a blow after the High Court ordered the forfeiture of her two vehicles to the government saying they are proceeds of crime.

High court judge Justice Esther Maina said the two vehicles, a Toyota crown KCR 521Z and Toyota DBA KCG 856G were liable for forfeiture because they were acquired using proceeds derived from sale of illicit drugs.

The judge directed NTSA to take steps and ensure that the two motor vehicles have been transferred to the state.

“Having come to a finding that the two vehicles are proceeds of crime, I must also inevitably come to the conclusion that the same are liable to the forfeiture to the state and I do so order,” the judge ruled.

The judge accused Akinyi of being ‘economical with information’ which should ideally be within her special knowledge.

The judge observed that the businesswoman did not tender any evidence that would convince the court that she actually sold a house to purchase the cars. And in the absence of such information, the court had no option but to conclude that the vehicles were purchased using drug money.

“Akinyi did not therefore declare the evidential burden of proof and that being the case and she having expressly admitted that the two vehicles were acquired from the proceeds of sales of the villa, I find that the vehicles are proceeds of crime. The same having been acquired from tainted money,” the judge said.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) argued that the vehicles were acquired through proceeds of crime.

Akinyi and two others were charged at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport court on July 25, 2019.

This was after a search was conducted at her residence at Deep West resort bar in Nairobi West and police recovered 1,050 grams of heroin with a street value of Sh3.09 million.