Kenya: Former Bank Manager Pledges to Return Stolen Funds

21 September 2021

A former manager of a collapsed bank facing a multimillion-shilling theft charge has pledged to return the money in a plea bargain with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Mr Graham Rioba Sagwe was charged alongside traders Robert Moseti Onkwani, Gladys Moraa and Obadiah Nyambane Gware with stealing Sh96 million from Fina Bank Limited on November 15, 2010.

The four suspects, who are out on bond, have now told Milimani chief magistrate Francis Andayi that they wish to return the cash to the lender after more than a decade.

When the case came up for hearing, defence lawyers Danstan Omari and Ishmael Nyaribo for Ms Moraa and Mr Gware, respectively, and David Oyatta for Mr Sagwe and Mr Moseti sought the court's indulgence for an amicable solution.

"We have approached the DPP for a plea bargain and to establish how much money should be returned to the bank so that this case can be settled out of court," Mr Omari said.

"We approached the DPP on Friday and we did not conclude the issue as defence counsel travelled upcountry."

Mr Omari said engagements had resumed yesterday but were yet to be concluded. The bank's lawyer, Mr Victor Kaula, did not oppose the defence team's suggestion.

Out of court settlement

Mr Omari said the constitution embraces alternative dispute resolution as a way of resolving issues to save precious judicial time. Mr Oyatta, however, asked for two days to get further instructions from Mr Moseti as he's unwell.

"Moseti is admitted in hospital and he's expected to be discharged in two days. I humbly urge the court to schedule the hearing in two days," said Mr Oyatta.

Prosecuting counsel Angela Fuchaka confirmed to Mr Andayi that the DPP and the defence were engaged in talks to settle the case out of court.

In 2010, then-High Court judge Mohammed Warsame had ordered the accused persons, among them Mr Don Bosco Gichana, to return all the money stolen from the bank.

Mr Gichana and two law firms that had received the funds returned a large chunk.

A company associated with Mr Don Bosco, known as Malch Construction, whose chief executive officer is Mr Gware, had received the money through an account at Ecobank. Ms Moraa was a director at Malch.

Defence hearing resumes on September 29.

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