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Sh3.6m fraud case against Pastor Ng'ang'a adjourned

NATIONAL
By Collins Kweyu | June 16th 2021

Pastor James Maina Ng'ang'a in the dock at a Milimani court. [George Njunge, Standard]

A Nairobi court has been told how televangelist James Ng'ang’a allegedly obtained Sh3.6 million after leasing a house to a Nairobi businessman fraudulently.

The court heard that Pastor Ng’ang’a pretended he would lease a 17-bedroom house to Wickson Njoroge Mwathi in Karen, Nairobi.

Testifying before Senior Resident Magistrate David Ndungi, Mwathi said he personally checked out the house and negotiated for rent with the accused.

“I was satisfied with the house and I took my client the next day who was also satisfied with the house,” said Mwathi. "I told Catherine, and another person, to negotiate on my behalf. The landlord (Ng’ang’a) was not known to me by then.”

The court was told that in April 2016, with the help of his lawyer, Mwathi signed a contract with Ng’ang’a at the preacher's Neno Evangelism Center office located at the Uhuru Highway - Haile Selassie Avenue junction.

“We went through the contract together and signed. Ng’ang’a and I signed the lease agreement dated April 6, 2020,” Mwathi told the Milimani court.

Pastor James Maina Ng'ang'a. [George Njunge, Standard]

The businessman testified that he left the cash with his advocate to bank with the landlord (Ng’ang’a) and proceeded to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for a meeting.

He was, however, stood down after the prosecution sought an adjournment to have the lawyer, who banked the money into Ng’ang’as account, record a statement.

“The advocate did not record statements. He was present and he is the one who handed over the money. The investigating officer did not take his statement. I pray for an adjournment to have his statement recorded,” said prosecution counsel, Abel Omariba.

According to Omariba, Pastor Ng’ang’a is charged with obtaining money by false pretence, and it needs to be proven how money exchanged hands.

"The investigating officer should take his statement. We are seeking justice in the right way as it will not prejudice the accused in the case,” he added.

Defense lawyer Charles Ogutu, however, opposed the plea saying that the case was filed in 2016 and that the prosecution had time to record the statement.

“I don't understand what the statement will help in the case. The case started in 2016 and the prosecution should have already taken the statements. The matter should be heard expeditiously,” said Ogutu.

Pastor James Maina Ng'ang'a. [George Njunge, Standard]

Justice Ndungi agreed with the prosecution and ordered that the investigating officer records a statement from the lawyer and adjourned the case to September 7, 2021.

Ndungi also directed the prosecution to serve the accused with the witness statement within 14 days, and objected to an application by Nganga’s lawyer to have the case heard in-camera.

The magistrate said that the media has a right to cover the proceedings within the confines of the law.

“Your honour we will be happy if this case is heard without the presence of the media because the only coverage he is getting is a negative one, and it would be better if he's not covered,” Ng'ang'a’s lawyer had earlier pleaded.

Pastor James Ng'ang'a is out on a cash bail of Sh500,000. 

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