Chairman of Dubai Bank in Kenya Abdul Hafedh Zubedi, Wilson Hassan Nandwa and Ali Bashir Sheikh at Milimani law court on Thursday December 21, 2015.
BY SAM ALFAN.
A Nairobi court has rejected an application by three directors of Dubai Bank seeking free bond in a criminal case they are accused of money laundering.
Chief Magistrate Daniel Ogembo directed Abdul Hafedh Zubeidi, Ali Bashir Sheikh and Wilson Hassan Nandwa to deposit a cash bail of Sh 10 million each after their lawyer raised an objection over the charges leveled against them.
The court heard that charges as they are framed do not exist in law and trio can not be compelled to plead to defective charges.
The prosecution sought for seven days to enable it reply to application seeking to dismiss the plea.
Abdul Hafedh Zubedi, Ali Bashir Sheikh and Wilson Hassan Nandwa, and Dubai bank are accused that on diverse date between 28 day of April and 1 September 2014 at Dubai Bank in Nairobi with others not before the court being Director of Dubai Bank Kenya limited and a limited liability Company respectively failed to comply with the requirements of section 44,45 and 46 of proceeds of crime and Anti- money laundering Act 2009 to wit Failure to carry out due diligence of a customer before opening account NO81176973 in the name of Runaway entertainment private limited a company which does exist.
The chief executive officer and an operations manager are separately charged with the theft of Sh12 million from the bank.
Butaa Binay and Deeraj Kumar Baghel are accused of stealing Sh12, 639,006 between April 28, 2014 and September 14, 2014 at Dubai Bank, Moi Avenue, Nairobi.
Other directors are Zubeidi, Sheikh, and Nandwa, are accused of failing to comply with the requirements of section 44, 45, 46 of the proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering Act in that they failed to carry out due diligence of a customer before opening account no. 81176973 in the name of Runway Entertainment Private Limited, a company that the prosecution says “did not exist.”
“The accused have a right to be released on bail pending formal taking of plea. It is clear the defence did not give notice to the prosecution over its intended application,” said Mr Ogembo who admitted the trio an alternative of Sh 50 Million bond.
At the same time Ogembo directed Binay and Baghel to appear in court on January 11,2016 when the court will rule on whether the suspects will plead to the charges.
But the court directed that the warrants against two directors who were not in court remains in force.
Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu urged the court not to release Zubeidi, Sheikh and Nandwa on free bond saying they were a flight risk. He said when defence lawyer Charles Kiplangat applied for the lifting of the arrest warrants issued against the three he did not disclose that he intended to oppose money laundering charges leveled against them.
“The last time we were in court the only issue that arose was in relation to a petition the suspects had filed at the High Court. It appears to the prosecution that this is a strategy to derail the case,” Ondimu told court.
Mr Ondimu said the High Court had dismissed the bid to block the prosecution of one of the directors.
Mr Ondimu said since the accused appeared in court the court should impose high surety bond terms that are harsh adding that there were possibilities of them absconding court.
“Strict surety terms will ensure the appearance of the accused persons. We need more time to file our response to objections,” Ondimu said.
He said the prosecution is allowed by law to vary the charge sheet at any stage during the proceedings.
Earlier defence lawyer Kiplangat raised a preliminary objection that the suspects should not plead to the charges saying the charge sheet is defective.
“We submit that the accused persons are being charged with offences not known under the law. We object to charges on grounds as the charge is drawn has not disclosed the offence the accused persons committed,” Kiplangat submitted.