DPP given time to introduce new suspects in Sh150m property case

The case before chief magistrate Francis Andayi failed to kick off.

In Summary

• The hearing of the criminal case where bank staff were charged with defrauding widow Alice Wanjiru of her property failed to kick off.

Alice Wanjiru outside the Milimani law courts
Alice Wanjiru outside the Milimani law courts

The DPP has until January 28 to introduce new suspects in a case where a 70-year-old widow is battling for her Sh150 million property.

The case before chief magistrate Francis Andayi, where bank staff are charged with defrauding Alice Wanjiru of her property, failed to kick off.

"We need more time to introduce new suspects in this matter before hearing begins," the prosecution submitted at the Milimani court.

In August, five people were charged at the Milimani law courts with conspiracy to defraud the widow of Sh150 million.

Amos Mugweru, Peter Kefa, Paul Mwangi, Robert Waweru, Esther Muthoni and Tom Jaseme denied three counts of conspiracy to defraud, stealing and forgery.

Mugweru and Jaseme are said to be credit officers at Faulu Bank.

 In the first count, they were charged with jointly conspiring to defraud Wanjiru by auctioning her house in Huruma worth Sh150 million between May 30, 2015 and March 28, 2018.

In the second count, court documents say that between August 8, 2014 and April 11, 2015, at Faulu's head office in Nairobi, Mugweru stole Sh22 million belonging to Wanjiru.

 Muthoni also faced a forgery charge after the court was informed that on May 23, 2015, she forged Wanjiru's signature on a bank loan application form.

 The suspects denied the charges and were released on Sh 100,000 cash bail each.

Principal magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot ruled that there is a similar matter pending at the High Court.

Wanjiru says she has battled to keep her property in the past seven years.

The property was illegally sold to an investment company based on a false claim that she defaulted on repaying a Sh65 million loan.

“It was a well-calculated scheme by Faulu Microfinance Bank Ltd to defraud me of my hard-earned property. They failed to disclose my monthly financial statements, refused to account for the money they collected from my premises and ended up selling it at a throwaway price,” she says.

In her affidavit, Wanjiru says she bought the three-storey building situated in Jonsaga, Huruma estate in Nairobi, in 1991 from Jason Mwangi at Sh16 million.

For the purposes of acquiring loans to finance construction projects, she opened an account with Faulu Microfinance.

“Between March 2013 and May 2015, I applied for various loans amounting to Sh65 million to finance working capital and construction of a seven-storey building,” she says.

Under the terms of the agreement, the bank was to collect all monthly rent from tenants as part of repayment and she would top up the remaining balance from her other businesses.

According to Wanjiru, trouble started when the manager handling her bank account was transferred to Ongata Rongai branch.

“I continued to repay the loan until January 2017 when Antique Auctioneers served me with a default notice and gave me 45 days redemption period,” she said.

Wanjiru says in March 2017, an auction advert was circulated by Antique Auctioneers under instructions from the bank to recover Sh73 million when the statements indicated she only had an outstanding loan of Sh7 million.

Antique went ahead to sell the property to Oksama Investment Supplies Limited, which is now laying claim to it.

Wanjiru then reported to the Banking Fraud Investigation Department who following a probe arrested the six people, Oksama Investment Supplies Limited and the auctioneers.

(edited by O. Owino)