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Court orders the government to unfreeze Nairobi Governor Sonko’s five bank accounts

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By JUDITH GICOBI

A court in Nairobi on Tuesday ordered Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to unfreeze Governor Mike Sonko’s five bank accounts immediately. 

Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku in her ruling, said orders used by the recovery agency to freeze Sonko’s bank accounts last year have expired and they did not apply for an extension to continue freezing the accounts.

“The agency was riding on expired court orders. It should have approached the court for the extension as required by the law upon expiry of the December orders,” magistrate Mutuku ruled.

Sonko through his lawyers Harrison Kinyanjui, Cecil Miller and George Kithi, made an application to challenge the freezing of his bank accounts despite the period sought by ARA having expired.

In the application made, Governor Sonko complained of being unable to support his family and himself after ARA froze his accounts.


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READ ALSO:   Sonko freed on bail
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Courts

Fraud case opens lid into the sophisticated art of con game

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When seven suspects took to the dock to plead to fraud charges, they looked ordinary. Like any Tom, Dick and Harry – plain. But underneath the veneer of simplicity lay a suave and sophisticated lot that has opened the door to the world of conmanship.

The seven, who had purported to be officials from the Office of the Deputy President, were yesterday charged a fresh over a Sh180 million fake tender scam.

Allan Kiprotich Chesang, Teddy Awiti, Kevin Mutundura Nyongesa, Augustine Wambua Matata, Joy Wangari Kamau, James William Makokha alias MrWanyonyi and Johan Ochieng Osore appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku and denied the charges.

They were charged afresh after the prosecution consolidated their files.

They appeared before Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku after the prosecution consolidated their files.

The suspects, who duped the victim into supplying 2,800 pieces of laptops in August 2018, had forged a Local Purchase Order (LPO) purported to have been issued by a Mr Mulinge, an assistant procurement officer at the DP’s office.

Their case is a classic example of the tremendous transformation fraud – originally associated with dingy downtown areas, and targeting the naive and less educated people – has undergone in the last few years.

Lately, the majority of the victims – as the recent case of a high-ranking diplomat – are well exposed people.

But what has baffled detectives is the fact that some of the serious fraud cases are executed in high-level government and security offices.

READ ALSO:   Court freezes Nairobi Governor Sonko’s 10 bank accounts holding Sh18 million

According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the State House, Harambee House, Harambee House Annex, the United Nations, the Department of Defence (DoD), Jogoo House police offices and Afya House, are among places where fraudsters have either pitched tent, or purported to operate from.

The Economic and Commercial Crimes Unit of the DCI is currently investigating a case of fraud involving millions of shillings by suspects posing as UN staff.

The gang, including a man and a woman who the DCI a fortnight ago listed as wanted persons, are also wanted for bank fraud offences.

The DCI, in a notice in the newspapers, indicated that Gerald Gatheru Mwai and Gladys Mwara Kamau, were wanted following a warrant of arrest issued by a Milimani court in Nairobi, on October 16.

Apart from the case before court in which a warrant of arrest was issued against the duo, the two are also said to have been duping unsuspecting businessmen over nonexisting tenders at the UN.

The victims are issued with fake Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) after parting with some money, and would be directed to specific companies to purchase tendered goods, especially drugs and rice, but told to pay and wait for the goods to be delivered, because the UN complex is a security zone.

Some of the victims told detectives that since access to the UN compound was restricted, they were convinced to surrender the goods to a team of ‘UN staff’ to deliver. The fraudsters would then disappear with the goods.

The gullibility has been baffling, a clear proof that no one is immune to fraud.

READ ALSO:   Sonko freed on bail

In the latest fraud case involving Sh300 million that was in court on Wednesday last week, the victim, Haile Menkerios, is said to have served in different senior positions within the UN.

The suspect, businessman and former Embakasi East parliamentary aspirant

Francis Mureithi, is alleged to have defrauded Menkerios under the pretext that he could help the diplomat secure a food supply tender at the DoD.

Menkerios, 74, has served as the Head of UN office to the African Union (UNOAU) and as a Special Representative to the African Union.

He has also served as the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan.

According to Psychology professor Robert Cialdini, people fall for scams due to a number of reasons, including the principle of reciprocity or enforced indebtedness used to elicit unwise action from the targeted victims.

“Not all fraud victims are risk-taking and greedy individuals seeking to make a quick shilling. They come from a variety of socio-economic, educational, age and gender backgrounds,” a senior detective at DCI headquarters said.

And the fraudsters are not the ordinary slinky characters who operate covertly. Some of them are ubiquitous characters who use their community and professional credibility and respectability to con.

In most of the cases, fraudsters disguise themselves as employees of certain institutions and forge LPOs and letterheads to send fake tender bids to unsuspecting companies or businessmen with requests to supply goods.

DoD In another case at DoD in August this year, the once high flying former assistant minister Danston Mungatana was arrested by detectives from Kilimani DCI together with Collins Paul Waweru for the offence of obtaining money by pretences, forgery and making of a false document.

READ ALSO:   Sonko wants speaker Beatrice Elachi barred from being acting Nairobi Governor

The two had obtained Sh1 million by pretending they were in a position to help a business person to secure a non-existent Sh70 million tender, purportedly to supply cereals and building materials to the DOD. After the complainant parted with Sh1 million, she was called to a Nairobi hotel to meet “a senior officer who would help push the alleged business opportunity”.

AFYA HOUSE

In March this year, detectives arrested Mercy Waihiga Wanjiku alias Linda Masake Mugundu for obtaining goods valued at Sh37 million from a businessman in another fake tender at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Afya House.

Wanjiku, together with other suspects, posed as senior MoH Health officials and lured Eastleigh businessman Ibrahim Adan to deliver 20,000 boxes of hand gloves, 1000 pieces of non-contact infrared thermometers and 579 boxes of face masks worth Sh37 million.

The meetings -to award the fake tender MOH/DPPH/DNMP/001/GFONT/2019- 2020 dated May 4 to Rocketway Construction Ltd -were held at the boardroom used by the Human Resources department. According to the businessman, every time he visited Afya House, he would find the ‘officials’ waiting for him and they would quickly whisk him past the security officers at the reception.

by Zadock Angira, PD.co.ke


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Courts

Four children fight claims they were disowned by late MP

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Four children of former Keiyo North MP William Murgor yesterday fought allegations that they had been disowned by their father before his death.

While testifying before the High Court in Eldoret, Ambrose Kiplagat Murgor, one of the four children said to have been born out of wedlock, told the court their father never disowned him or any of his three siblings.

While being cross-examined before Justice Hellen Omondi, Mr Kiplagat said he was a biological child of the late MP, adding that the contrary claims were only made to lock him and his siblings out of the MP’s vast estate.

“My late father never disowned me or my siblings,” Kiplagat told the court.

He said he was born in 1970 at Murgor’s Kaptagat farm before they moved in 1976 to Chesigot farm in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The four – Kiplagat, Oscar Murgor, Sharon Murgor and Faith Murgor – who are children of the former MP’s fourth wife Anna Kimoi, have told the court they were brought up with the other children.

“We were raised together with the other siblings from the different houses. I was in school with my two brothers, Collins and Kenneth, in the same primary school, all along living as brothers,” he added.

READ ALSO:   Why Sonko has been rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital

He told the court that he did not know the reasons as to why he and his brother Oscar did not get a share of their father’s farms like rest of his siblings.

Kiplagat added that his elder sister Enid Cheptanui filed the case against her step-brother Francis Murgor, Chemutai Murgor and Keiyo North MP Dr James Murgor for excluding them in the distribution of the Sh1.4 billion family estate.

While testifying in the succession dispute, James denied knowing Kiplagat and his three siblings Oscar, Sheila and Faith Murgor.

While James claimed to have only been familiar with them for a few years, Kiplagat on the other hand told the court the MP was well known to him and that he had even campaigned for him.

“I campaigned for him in three elections, and he always introduced me as his brother. When my mother was sick, I was in contact with the MP, who even helped in paying the hospital bill,”

by Stanardmedia.co.ke


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Courts

Willy Mutunga’s former wife loses bid to revive divorce suit

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Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s ex-wife Beverle Michaele Lax (pictured) has lost a bid to revive a divorce appeal she filed against him in 2015.

The Court of Appeal had initially dismissed Lax’s appeal against a High Court divorce ruling for her lawyer’s failure to pursue it.

She, however, went back, saying her lawyers never informed her that the case was coming up.

But Court of Appeal Judges Asike Makhandia, Jamilla Mohammed and Sankale ole Kantai found that her conduct, while the appeal was pending, did not persuade the court to intervene.

According to the judges, Lax filed a separate case to dissolve the same marriage at a San Mateo County Court in California, US, and never informed the Kenyan court about it.

The court observed that the High Court had finally dissolved the marriage, hence her appeal had been overtaken by events.

“We cannot fathom the reason(s) for this action. Be that as it may, it does again point to the applicant as a person without candour. What the applicant is seeking from this court is really the exercise of discretion,” the judges ruled.

The court found that if Lax was discussing with her lawyers about their pay, they must have informed her about the appeal.

READ ALSO:   Away with Sonko lions

Lax told the court that she came to learn about the dismissal of her case in November last year when she temporarily visited Kenya. She narrated that she only managed to peruse the file on January 24, 2020 and could not have attended court as she was unwell.

She said her then lawyers failed to inform her that if she did not pay their legal fees, they would not attend the court sessions.

“There is no doubt that the applicant was in constant communication with her counsel who were irksome in demanding their legal fees and we therefore find it difficult to believe that she was not informed of the hearing date,”  the judges ruled.

Mutunga opposed her application and told the court he filed a divorce case against Lax in 2009. According to him, the court gave its judgement on July 26, 2012.

Aggrieved with the High Court’s decision, Mutunga said his ex-wife filed an appeal on September 18, 2015, but the case did not proceed out of her delaying tactics.

He explained that when the case came up for hearing on November 18, 2015, Lax sought for Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, who was then a Court of Appeal judge, to withdraw from the bench that was hearing the case.

READ ALSO:   Sonko wants speaker Beatrice Elachi barred from being acting Nairobi Governor

By Standardmedia.co.ke


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