Government fails to amend charges for ex-cleric in Sh39 million case

The prosecution told the court that it had not received any further evidence. [Photo: Courtesy]
The State yesterday failed to bring more charges against a former church official and two other people.

David Gathanju, a one-time moderator of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), has been charged alongside Peter Mwangi and James Muiruri, both former employees.

The three have been accused of stealing Sh39 million from the PCEA headquarters in Nairobi’s South C Estate between January 2, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

During the last mention of the case on April 3, the prosecutor, Christine Mbevi, told the court that the charge sheet would be amended to add charges of forgery.

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However, during the mention of the case yesterday, Mbevi told Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo that no additional evidence had been received.

Last month, the church, through lawyer Kimamo Muchiri, told the court that it intended to have the charge sheet amended after further audits revealed it had lost more money.

“The reports indicate that the church also lost Sh7 million and a further Sh19 million in 2014. In total, the church lost more than Sh66 million."

The lawyer said the church also wanted several banks charged for allegedly colluding with the accused to steal the money.

Yesterday, Mr Muchiri said his client had submitted evidence to the prosecution and written to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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But Mr Gathanju's lawyer, Kimani Wakimaa, decried the delays, saying the start of the hearing of the case had been postponed since January.

“We must continue. If the prosecution still wants to amend the charges, they can still do so even when the hearing of the case is ongoing. This is a matter of public interest since the church’s more than five million followers were waiting for its conclusion,” he said. 

When the magistrate sought to know the progress of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Wakimaa told her the initiative had had collapsed. Muchiri, however, said the church was still interested in pursuing the ADR and settling the matter out of court.

The court ruled that a pre-trial conference be held on July 6, while the hearing will be from August 7 to 9.

Stateex-clericSh39 million caseDavid GathanjuPCEA