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New twist as DPP now suspends hearing of Sh39m theft case against ex-PCEA head

By Kamau Maichuhie | Published Sun, August 5th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 4th 2018 at 22:34 GMT +3
Former PCEA Moderator David Gathanju

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has halted trial of former Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) moderator David Gathanju over Sh39 million theft pending further directions.

Mr Gathanju, who was the highest-ranking official of the church’s general assembly (moderator) between 2009 and 2015, is charged alongside James Muiruri and Peter Mwangi, both former employees of the church.

The three were in November 2017 charged that on diverse dates between January 2, 2016, and June 30, 2017, at PCEA headquarters in Nairobi’s South C Estate, they conspired to steal from the church.

In the second count, they were accused of stealing the money which came into their possession by virtue of their employment. They denied the charges.

The prosecution was on Friday expected to amend charges facing the three and make them stiffer.

On July 20, during the pre-trial conference, State counsel Christine Mbevi told the court that the prosecution was intending to amend the charge sheet to reflect the correct amount of money lost by increasing that sum to Sh50 million.

She had also told the court the prosecution intended to prefer more charges against Mr Mwangi, one of the accused.

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However, on Friday, Mbevi told Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo that she would not amend the charges against the former moderator and his two co-accused.

The prosecutor told the court that she was under firm instructions from the ODPP not to proceed with the amendment of the charges and the hearing of the case which was to start on August 7 until further directions are issued on the matter.

“I am seeking the adjournment of the case for one month in which time I will confirm receipt of further directions. I have been given directives not to proceed and have to abide by it,” Ms Mbevi told the court.

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