Kenya: High Court Suspends New CWSK Accounts

10 December 2019

The High Court has suspended use of new bank accounts belonging to the Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) following a standoff on signatories.

Justice Weldon Korir issued the temporary order in a case in which activist Okiya Omtatah has sued the society after it opened new bank accounts and changed signatories.

The judge said the new accounts at Kenya Commercial Bank Capital Hill branch should remain frozen pending the hearing and determination of the dispute since there are about three similar cases on the matter in the courts.

He also directed that parties should appear before Justice David Majanja on December 17 since the judge had issued an earlier order freezing the old bank accounts.

In the suit, Mr Omtatah argued that as at November 15, Sh117.2 million had been transferred from that account, putting the money at risk of misappropriation.

The activist has accused the Solicitor-General, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the National Treasury, respondents to the suit, of meddling with operations at CWSK and the powers of the registered trustees.

"The decision to close bona fide bank accounts belonging to CWSK and to irregularly as well as unlawfully open others not controlled by the trustees has paralysed operations of the society and put the lives of the many children in their care in jeopardy," Mr Omtatah said.

In a separate suit, it emerged that it is Treasury that ordered Equity Bank to change signatories to CWSK accounts amid investigations into misappropriation claims.

Treasury believes there is abuse of public resources at CWSK, but the society claims it is being targeted by criminals disgruntled by its efforts to tame child trafficking.

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