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Court Allows Use Of Pastor Ezekiel’s M-Pesa Lines

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Followers of Pastor Ezekiel Odero are now free to continue remitting offertory and tithes through the seven M-Pesa lines under probe of money laundering after a court in Nairobi yesterday lifted orders freezing them.

Milimani Magistrate Ben Mark Ekhubi vacated the freezing orders on the seven M-Pesa lines belonging to Pastor Ezekiel’s New Life Prayer Church after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) led investigator Martin Munene informed him that Safaricom released to police the voluminous records of the billions of shillings transactions they were seeking from the telco.

Munene told the magistrate that pastor Ezekiel’s church members are free to use the M-Pesa lines as investigations into the money laundering and other serious crimes proceed.

Mpesa transactions

Confirming the release of the documents Safaricom legal manager Weldon Syongok told Ekhubi they took time to rumble through the documents to separate the MPesa transactions from the billions of transactions running a span of seven years.

“We have complied with the orders as earlier directed by this honourable court. Safaricom was unable to comply with the orders because of the bulkness of the information requested by the DCI from 2017 to 2023 in regards to the lines,” Syongok told the court while urging it to pardon the telecommunication company.

Syongok further asked court to pardon the mobile network subscriber for the delay in complying saying it was not intentional. State prosecutor Virginia Kariuki did not oppose the request for Safaricom to be pardoned saying they have complied with the courts orders.

“I urged the court to mark the miscellaneous application as closed since we have received all the requested data from Safaricom that form part of the investigations. I can confirm that the documents supplied by Safaricom and five banks are bulky and investigations are still ongoing on the said lines and Ezekiel’s bank accounts,” said Munene.

Closed application

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Consequently, the magistrate closed down the miscellaneous application by DCI seeking to probe the church funds, paving way for Pastor Ezekiel to access his MPesa lines and bank accounts as investigations by police continue.

Immediately after the court vacated the orders, Pastor Ezekiel’s lawyers led by Danstan Omari , Sam Nyaberi and Cliff Ombeta said they will pursue the matter since police have been given all the documents by the banks and Safaricom they seek to carry out their probe on the Church and Kilifi International School belonging to the embattled cleric.

At the same time, the controversial pastor sued the Registrar of Societies for threatening to cancel registration of his church, New Life Prayer Centre.

The embattled pastor argued that the Registrar of Societies wrote a letter to him last week dated 27 April communicating its intention to cancel the registration of his prayer centre and Church.

He claims the Registrar of Societies intends to deregister the church for failing to furnish, within the time allowed, the annual returns despite refusing and failing to avail his file to him for the purposes of filing his annual returns.

The embattled pastor says there are numerous attempts by state organs to persecute him, frustrate his ministry and any other projects connected to him.

He notes that the said notice was issued eight days after expiry of the intended 21-day notice and it has been difficult to file the returns as their file has been missing at the registrar of societies.

“Despite incessant and frantic efforts to have the file traced, the registrar of societies has refused, ignored, failed or neglected to release the said file to me or provide sufficient reasons for confiscating the file,” he says in court documents.

He wants the court to suspend the directive and intention to cancel the registration of his New Life Prayer Centre and Church upon expiry of the 21 day notice communicated by the Registrar of Societies.

It is his argument that the move by the registrar of societies shall suffer irreparable harm and his congregant’s freedom of religion shall be curtailed. Ezekiel further claims that though the allegations against him are fabricated, unsubstantiated, scandalous and baseless, there has been an increasing extra judicial interference by state organs including the registrar of societies who has threatened to cancel the registration of the church.

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