Former Britam employees have lost a case challenging their prosecution over alleged theft. High Court Judge George Odunga dismissed the application filed by Edwin Dande, Elizabeth Nkukuu, Shiv Arora and Patricia Njeri. However, he gave them a month to appeal.
“I give temporary orders for 30 days to allow the applicants to appeal,” the judge noted. The decision by the judge came after the four moved to block Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko and their former employer from having them on the dock.
Through lawyer John Amoko, the former Britam employees said they will challenge the court’s decision before the appellate court as they believed that the prosecution process was flawed and in bad faith. “The basis of the prosecution is legally flawed. We are asking for 30 days to go to the Court of Appeal as a matter of constitutional right,” the lawyer told the court yesterday.
Financial services company Britam had filed a number of civil and criminal suits in 2014 against the four former employees whom it had accused of fraudulently transferring billions of shillings from its accounts.
The dispute started when Britam went to court claiming its former managers fraudulently siphoned billions of shillings from its accounts and channelled them to accounts held by Acorn Ltd and its affiliates. In the out-of-court settlement, Acorn Ltd agreed to return land that had been purchased with funds transferred from Britam, and more than Sh5 billion in cash.
The deal also allowed Britam to recover a five-acre land in Kileleshwa, a two-and-half-acre plot in Upper Hill, 25 acres in Mlolongo and 182 acres in Lukenya, Machakos County. The DPP said he had already made a decision to have the four charged, but asked the court to dismiss the new application, saying they were initially challenging arrest and not prosecution.
“That suit was never challenging prosecution, no wonder DPP is not party to it. The suit was complaining about police actions. They are assuming that you gave orders stopping prosecution. If it would have been an issue, the DPP would have been a party,” argued Senior Principal Prosecution Counsel Fredrick Ashimosi.
Britam through lawyer Fred Ngatia argued that the orders sought would “issue immunity against prosecution”.