HOLY COOKIE JAR

Casual poses as church cashier, collects money

The imposter posed as the Baptist Church cashier, collecting money for a wedding and trip to Israel

In Summary

• One member made a deposit for her wedding, another for her trip to Israel.

• The accused person had denied the charges until CCTV footage was played in court.

Clinton Shauri in a Kibera court on Wednesday.
CHURCH COOKIE JAR: Clinton Shauri in a Kibera court on Wednesday.
Image: CLAUSE MASIKA

A young casual labourer had an eye for opportunity and didn't let the house of God deter him.

He entered the cashier's office when its occupant was gone. Of course he wore a jacket, he sat back in a big chair, looking for all the world like the cashier he wasn't.

Clinton Shauri then allegedly began collecting deposits for a wedding, naturally issuing a receipt, and also for a trip to Israel, very professionally issuing another receipt.

On Wednesday, even after a projector was rolled into the courtroom by an ICT expert, Shauri remained calm and adamant that he had never stolen from the Baptist Church of Kenya in Nairobi.

However, his eyes got bigger and he looked anxious when the video was played, showing him, or his double, taking the cash from the faithful.

It was shown for 30 minutes on Wednesday in the courtroom of Kibera senior principal magistrate Barbara Ojoo.

Shauri is accused of conning Dorcus Wamaitha and Mary Njoko out of Sh170,000 and Sh14,500, respectively, on October 15 last year at the Baptist Church in Westlands, Nairobi

In the CCTV video, Shauri was seen seated in a luxurious chair in the church finance office as he attends to couples who had handed over cash.

At one point, Shauri could be seen moving from one point to another, as if he were trying to place the cash in a safer place.

Wamaitha testified that she had gone to the Baptist Church to pay cash in preparation for her wedding scheduled for December 18, 2018. She said she was conned out of the money by the accused, Shauri.

 

Mary Njoki and her husband had also gone to the office to pay cash to book a trip to Israel, but they paid it to the accused.

“I had planned a wedding scheduled to be on December 8, 2018, and hiring the sanctuary and grounds was to cost Sh57,000. My friend advised me to go to the church account office and make a deposit," Wamaitha testified.

She paid.

“On October 15, 2018, I went to church PBC to deposited Sh14,500," Waimaitha said. "I met Liz Munene at the reception desk and explained the purpose of my visit. She went through my wedding application form and told me I needed to clear Sh37,000. Since I only paid Sh14,500, she advised me to go to the accounts office and make a deposit,” she said.

Wamaitha said she was following instructions from Munene.

“I went to the accounts office and the cash was received by a gentleman, whom I believe was the said Clinton. He gave me a receipt as confirmation that the cash had been successfully received by PBC. A copy of the receipt, Number 8167, was given to me, she said.

After some days she received a call from the police requesting her to record a statement about the money she had paid.

“On November 2 I received a call from PBC requiring me to avail myself to the police station to record the statement regarding the Sh14,500 which I understand was misappropriated by Clinton, the accused person,” she added.

Mary Njoki also told the security officials at the church how her trip to Israel was nearly called off because of the theft.

The Baptist church security manager had told the court that the accused person was only a casual labourer temporarily working for the church, not a church staff member, as he had alleged.

He told the court that a CCTV at the facility showed church officials how the accused received the money and conned the faithful.

He said the accused received the money, gave out receipts and slipped away with the cash. In his defence, Shauri admitted he took the money but forgot to take to church authorities.

“I took the money and kept it at a place so that I could give it to the authorities and I forgot. As a result of that, I found myself in court and facing other tribulations," Shauri testified.

The magistrate directed the case to proceed on November 18.

(Edited by V. Graham)