Seven men accused of using President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name to con Sameer Group Chairman Naushad Merali Sh10 million were finally released after three days in custody.
Joseph Waswa, Duncan Muchai, Isaac Wajekeche, William Simiyu, David Luganya, Gilbert Kirunja and Anthony Wafula denied the charge of conspiracy to defraud the businessman and asked the magistrate to release them on bail pending trial.
Chief magistrate Francis Andayi ruled that there were no compelling reasons to deny them bail and released each on a cash bail of Sh100,000.
According to the charge sheet, the seven conspired to defraud Merali by lying they were in a position to sell him a prime piece of land located in Milimani, Nairobi County.
“Between January 24 and February 1 2019 at Prime Bank in Riverside Drive within Nairobi County jointly conspired to defraud and obtaining Sh10 million from Akif Hamid Butt by falsely pretending you were in a position to sell to Sameer Africa the piece of land in Milimani,” read the charge sheet
The prosecution alleged that the seven called Mr Merali demanding that he facilitates release of the Sh10 million for purchase of the land while mimicking the voice of the President.
The businessman was at the time outside the country but after being convinced the voice was coming from state house, he instructed his finance director, Mr Butt, to get in touch with the callers who in turn gave him an account number at Equity Bank to deposit the money.
Mr Butt was however alarmed by the nature of the transaction after depositing the Sh10 million in the account and reported the matter to police who upon investigations arrested the seven.
The prosecution had applied to have them detained for ten days but the application was dismissed on grounds that there were no compelling reasons to warrant the detention.
The seven through lawyers Cliff Ombeta, Neville Amollo and June Ashioya had opposed the prosecution’s application and demanded that Uhuru be summoned to testify as a witness to confirm if he owned the number used by the callers.
The lawyers demanded that the prosecution disclose any dealings the president has had with Merali to warrant the release of Sh10 million from his company just by a mere phone call.
“If he received a call from someone claiming to be the president then he must have been familiar with that voice and convinced that it was actually the president. It means he had the president’s number and nothing stops the prosecutor was enjoining the president in the case,” said Ombeta.
Ms Ashioya added that the prosecution should have first consulted the president to confirm if indeed the number was his and whether he is the one of made the call to Merali leading to release of the Sh10 million.
She also questioned the land transaction in which the businessman paid to acquire stating that no evidence of a sale agreement had been filed in court.