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8 boda boda officials eye out-of-court deal in Sh6.8m theft case

The eight suspects said their continued detention is needless. [iStockphoto]

Eight directors of a boda boda operators company charged with stealing more than Sh6.8 million from its members are seeking an out-of-court settlement.

Joseph Otieno, Hassan Ochieng, John Njenga, David Muli, Serah Wanjiku, Washington Anamange, James Chiteri and Joel Butika are accused of stealing the money from the 230-member Southrift Bodaboda Limited based in Nakuru County between late 2020 and early this year.

They have made an application before Principal Magistrate Isaac Orenge asking him to release them on bond to enable them initiate talks to resolve the matter. 

The suspects, in their application, also asked the court to allow them some time to negotiate with the members over the matter.

"The eight are exploring the option of resolving the matter out of court. Members of the company also want the matter resolved," reads the application filed in court.

The suspects said their continued detention is needless. They said they should be released so they can meet the company's members and agree on the way forward.

On September 2, the court denied them bond after reports their alleged victims, who include boda boda operators, and their families were angry and baying for their blood.

The suspects told the court that their accusers are no longer out to lynch them. They said this provides them with an opportunity.

Through intervention by their lawyers, the eight said, members of the company are willing to sit with them in talks for a possible out-of-court settlement to the matter.

On Thursday, Police Constable Daniel Ouma told the court releasing them would be risky. He said their detention is justified and their bond application should be ignored.

However, in response, the suspects claim it is the responsibility of the police to protect them from any threats there may be.

They termed reports that it would be risky for them to be released an excuse by the police keen to avoid doing their duty of protecting them.

"Freeing them will not be a threat in any way. No one is after their lives. They are known officials and won't flee," their application said.

The prosecution has left the matter to the discretion of the court.

The eight have denied eight counts of stealing and defrauding members of Southrift Bodaboda Limited of Sh6,867,399 on diverse dates between December 2020 and April 2022, in Nakuru East.

The firm's members include bodaboda operators, their families, and other members of the community.

They allegedly misappropriated Sh3,243,141 from the company's bank accounts.

Otieno, Ochieng, Njenga, and Muli are charged with stealing Sh1,890,730 that had been contributed by members.

“Otieno, Ochieng, Chiteri, and Anamange used their director positions to steal Sh206,900, bodaboda company’s money, within Nakuru city,” reads count three.

On the said dates, Otieno, Ochieng, Wanjiku and Butika allegedly used their positions to steal Sh40,600 from the company.

Otieno, Ochieng, and Njenga allegedly stole Sh701,620.

Otieno and Ochieng are also accused of stealing Sh529,408 and Sh255,000 respectively.

The case will be mentioned Tuesday for directions.