The curious case of Fina Bank’s Sh100m heist
By Kamau Muthoni | February 20th 2017
Three fraud suspects’ attempt to stall the wheels of justice for close to 10 years in a case where they are accused of stealing more than Sh100 million from a bank has hit a snag.
The High Court has dismissed their request to have the fraud case filed by Fina Bank at a magistrate’s court dismissed, with the presiding judge expressing displeasure at how the accused had managed to pervert the course of justice for seven years.
Justice John Mativo ordered that Graham Rioba, Obadiah Gichana and Gladys Moraa should face trial in the case filed by the bank in 2010.
“I find it disturbing that a 2010 criminal trial is still pending awaiting trial,” he said.
Justice Mativo in his judgment said courts are not arenas for litigants to play mind games against each other to either win or lose.”
“Litigation is not a game of chess where players outsmart themselves by dexterity of purpose and traps. On the contrary, litigation is a contest by judicial process where the parties place on the table of justice their different position clearly, plainly and without tricks. In my humble view, the two processes are in law not available to the petitioners,” he said.
“They ought to have appealed against the above mentioned decision if they were dissatisfied. The petitioners cannot lawfully file this petitions and seek similar reliefs relying on substantially the same grounds as the application referred to above.”
The trio had appeared before the trial court on November 22, 2010 where they denied several charges, among them conspiracy to defraud, stealing and handling stolen property.
But in their appeal to the High Court, they argued that the move to charge them was unfair as Fina Bank was engaging them for an out-of-court settlement, in addition to continued payment of the money alleged to have been stolen.
The three had been charged alongside businessman Don Bosco Gichana and Albert Kuloba, but the charges against the latter two, according to court document, were dropped after Sh88 million was returned, leaving a balance of Sh15 million.
The court heard that the case in the lower court was meant to pressure the three to pay up the remaining amount and that the dispute in hand was civil and not criminal.
They had also sought to have the case transferred to a civil court.
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