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November 22, 2018

Hearing set in Sh1.6 billion NYS fraud case against Family Bank

Senior Family Bank officials at a Milimani court over the Sh1.6 billion NYS theft case, September 12, 2017. /COLLINS KWEYU
Senior Family Bank officials at a Milimani court over the Sh1.6 billion NYS theft case, September 12, 2017. /COLLINS KWEYU

The Sh1.6 billion money laundering case against eight former senior managers of Family Bank will be heard on March 15.

Milimani Chief magistrate Francis Andayi gave the direction on Wednesday saying there couldn't be any further delays.

The court was earlier told that the bank approached the DPP to settle the case that concerns the National Youth Service.

Defence lawyer Cecil Miller said they had written a proposal for an out-of-court settlement.

“We have initiated talks with the DPP to explore a settlement which may bring the matter to an end.”

The bank had also filed an application at the Court of Appeal for the case to be quashed, saying it amounts to double jeopardy for the lender which was blacklisted by Central Bank.

Read: Family Bank chiefs propose settlement in Sh1.6bn case

But when the matter was mentioned today, Senior State Counsel Solomon Naulikha informed the court that the case should proceed to full hearing without any further delays.

Naulikha said the prosecution had not received the proposal and that they were ready to proceed with the hearing.

The accused in the case include CEO John King'ori, former CEO Peter Munyiri, KTDA Branch Manager Robert Oscar Nyaga and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Manager Charles Kamau.

The others are Head of Risk and Compliance Raphael Mutinda, Operations Supervisor Nancy Njambi, Platinum Relationship Manager Meldon Awino and Customer Service Supervisor Josephine Wairi

The are accused of failing to report significant transactions carried out through chief suspect Josephine Kabura’s three accounts at the bank. The transactions that involved Form Builders, All Trading and Reinforced Concrete Technologies should have been reported to the Financial Reporting Centre.

The eight all denied the charges and were freed on Sh1 million bond or Sh300,000 cash bail each.

The offences were allegedly committed between December 22, 2014 and May 19, 2015 at Family Bank's branch at Kenya Tea Development Authority in Nairobi.

"Munyiri and others are also said to have failed to report anti-laundering money suspicion,” the charge sheet states.

The prosecution claims the officials “aided and abetted” money laundering by Kabura, leading to the withdrawal of that amount and its distribution to her three companies.

Forme Builders transacted Sh218,850,000 while Sh252,150,000 was moved through All Trading. Reinforced Concrete Technologies received Sh320,160,000 of the amount from NYS accounts at the CBK.

Banking regulations require that any transaction worth Sh1 million ($10,000) be flagged and reported to the CBK if there is reason to believe it is unusual and suspicious.

The officials were charged after the CBK, as the banking industry regulator, approved.

In a letter dated August 12, 2016 CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge advised then-Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko to prosecute the officials. Njoroge noted the action would not have any direct bearing on the industry.

Several other banks have been mentioned in the NYS scandal. Family Bank previously claimed it was not the only institution that handled the monies and said the other institutions should also be investigated.

More on this: Prosecute Family Bank over Sh1.6bn NYS theft - CBK boss

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