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Sh40m PCEA theft case hits snag

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The theft case against former Presbyterian Church of East Africa moderator David Gathanju failed to start Tuesday when prosecutors applied to amend the charges.

Rev Gathanju and two former church employees are accused of stealing Sh40 million. Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo was to hear the case for three days.

Defence lawyers said the intended changes, which will see the amount increased by Sh10 million, prevented them from proceeding as they needed more time to prepare.

Rev Gathanju was the PCEA moderator from 2009 to 2015.

FRAUD

His fellow accused — Mr James Muiruri and Mr Peter Kamuthu — have already denied stealing Sh39.9 million between January 2, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

State counsels Christine Mbevi and Thomas Matwa told the court that they had instructions to amend the charges to increase the stolen amount to sh50.9 million.

Prosecutors said they would also add seven counts to charges against Mr Kamuthu.

He is to be charged with forging the signatures of PCEA Secretary-General Peter Kania and Treasurer Amon Nderi at Equity Bank on January 20, December 5 and December 16, 2016, and on January 17, 2017 with the intention of defrauding the church.

DPP FAULTED

The case was to begin in November 2017 but was delayed over a litany of instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Defence lawyers Danstan Omari, John Njuguna, Kimani Wakimaa and Stanley Kangahi accuse the DPP of unwillingness to proceed with the case.

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Education

My daughter’s political baptism by fire

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Marita Agufana was going through her day’s work when she received a call from her cousin. She was informed of a vacancy on the post of a County Executive Committee [CEC] in Vihiga County. GovernorWilber

Ottichilo felt that the team he had selected pre-viously had not observed the two third gender rule .

and opted to look woman. This was year 2017 soon after the -General Elections. When Lydia Owano, Marita’s mother heard l of her daughter’s plans to apply for | vacant post of CEC, j she encouraged her. | Being a staunch C tian, she also prayed I about it.

Marita quickly a and did a phone in view with the who was impress her. He proceeded to forward her name to L the county assembly for vetting. For two hours, in front of observers from different parts of the county, Marita had to prove she was worth for the post.

“She didn’t grow up in Vihiga, so the vetting was a bit tough for her. She was asked a lot of questions, some meant to determine her competency and skills,” Lydia reveals.

Marita Agufana

Stranger in the house
She finally got the job to serve as the CEC in Education, Science, Technical and Vocational training.

People have different perceptions when it comes to political appointments. Most of the time, people who have held these positions supported the governor in one way or another during campaigns. But for her, it was different as she saw her governor for the first time on the day she was being sworn in. Lydia was proud that her daughter became a waziri.

“She had never voted nor campaigned for governor Ottichilo because she had registered as a voter in Nairobi. He just saw that she was fit for the job and chose her. I say it’s just the favour of God,” Lydia says.

Later on, Marita was moved to be in charge of Environment, Water, Energy and Natural Resources. Her role involves looking at policy direction of the ministry and give direction, problem solve and help in making decisions.

As per the constitution, she was in charge of management and general administration of the department [Ministry].

Marita’s first days were tough and rough, a baptism by fire into politics. There was a lot of expectations with people visiting her office to request for school fees, money for funeral, and others seeking for solutions for

their issues. There were also negative comments on why she was chosen and not others. She has since learnt to ignore negativity, focus on her job and let her work speak for her.

The fact that she never grew up in Vihiga and didn’t understand the Maragoli language though she’s Luhya, made things difficult for her.

Rumours everywhere
“Residents said they had no idea who my daughter was. She was lashed at forums. She was insulted. Others had a lot of expectation. Being her first time in public service, she was lost,” recalls Lydiah.

“It’s hard being a young woman in politics. Bloggers spread false claims day and night about my daughter— how she slept with the governor to get the job, how her family blackmailed the governor for the top position, how she had a miscarriage and governor was blackmailed to cover it up. It is sad how people can craft your story and make it believable,” she laments.

Lydia recalls how such accusations not only broke her heart, but her family. But she braved on and encouraged her daughter to continue serving the people of Vihiga.

Born in Kijabe, Kiambu county 31 years ago, Marita grew up in different places. Her early years were spent in Baringo, Marigat where her dad was working for Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (kARI]. Sadly, in the year 1992, their lives took a different turn when she lost her father in a grisly road accident. Still young, her mother went back to school [medical school] and advanced her studies to earn more money to cater for her two children.

At this point, Marita lived with her aunt and enrolled in Musoli Girl’s Primary School in Kakamega county in 1993.

Hard worker

They moved to Kakamega in 1996 and in 1997, she joined St Joseph’s Primary School then moved to Star Academy the same year.

Lydia had remarried and Marita’s step dad desired that all the children from both families be in one school. Marita is still the last born in this blended home. By 1998, her mother had completed studying clinical medicine and was posted to Kakamega. In 2003, Marita was admitted to Butere Girls High School.

“After her secondary education, Marita was conflicted as she desired to do a tourism course in United States International University [USIU], but she pursued Integrated Development Studies at Daystar University,” Lydia recalls. She worked in various non-governmental organisations [NGOs] from 2014 to 2016 and particularly dealt with young people in the slums.

By the time she was being appointed as the CEC, she had already enrolled for her Master’s in Diplomacy, Development and International Security at Daystar University in 2017.

After three years as CEC, Marita is proud of the fact that she has managed to build early childhood development classes, equipped Vocational Training Centres, manage garbage and waste collection as well as produce legislations that have been considered by the assembly for implementation.

BONE OF CONTENTION

• Marita Agufana was born in Kiambu, but grew up in Baringo and Kakamega counties.

• Unlike many who get appointed to county executive committee positions after supporting and campaigning for respective governors, Marita saw Governor Wilber Ottichilo during her swearing in.

• She voted in Nairobi, not Vihiga.
• She didn’t understand Maragoli language despite being a Luhya.

By PD

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Courts

Man charged in court for running car wash business under electricity cables

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A man has been charged with encroachment into public land for operating a car wash business under high voltage electricity transmission lines in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

Samuel Ocharo Mogaka has been accused of unlawfully and willingly encroaching on and erecting a car wash area, a garage and a food outlet tent in an area set aside for an energy infrastructure project.

The land is allocated for – high transmission 11KV commercial electricity line which is under the Kenya Power Company.

The Kibera Law Courts was told how Kenya Power Company security officials and technicians on patrol discovered the cables dangerously hanging over the tents. Mogaka could not prove having obtained consent to put up the structures and was arrested.

He denied the charges before Senior Resident Magistrate Charles Mwaniki and pleaded for leniency claiming his wife is sickly and he is his family’s sole breadwinner.

He also claimed his children slept hungry after he was arrested.

The accused was freed on Sh10,000 cash bail with mentioning date of the case set for August 25, 2020.

By NN

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Lifestyle

Woman fined Sh50,000 & six months in prison for insulting lover’s wife

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A woman has been fined Sh50,000 for insulting his lover’s wife and provoking her to a fight while drunk.

In default, Saida Mohamed Amin, the convict, will spend six months in prison.

Senior resident magistrate Charles Mwaniki of Kibera law courts handed the sentence to her after she pleaded guilty to charges of offensive conduct.

She admitted that she visited Kush Apartments in Parklands on Sunday where the complainant Salima Mohammed Ismail resides while drinking alcohol from glass and used abusive words her.

Saida told Salima that they are co-wives and hurled insults at her but in courts, said she was not in her right senses at the time.

She pleaded for leniency claiming that she is jobless and a single mother of two.

The convict claimed she has a debt with her landlord as she has not paid rent for months and pleaded to be forgiven.

She was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.

By NN

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