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Former Bank Manager Pledges To Return Stolen Funds

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A former manager of Fina Bank, now Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya, and three others charged with stealing over Sh96 million from the lender over a decade ago are seeking to return millions of shillings to avoid jail.

Graham Sagwe, the former Fina Bank manager, and traders Robert Moseti, Gladys Moraa and Obadiah Nyambane have approached the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for an out-of-court deal.

The deal will see them freed or get less punishment under a plea bargain scheme that will demand millions returned to the bank, now owned by Nigerian lender Guaranty Trust Bank.

The Sh96 million was diverted from paying a Chinese contractor to a Kenyan firm associated with Don Bosco Gichana, Malch Construction, which had not handled any construction works, through Eco Bank.

The millions were shared later among the five including Mr Gichana whose case was withdrawn after he was jailed in Tanzania on money laundering charges.

Chief magistrate Francis Andayi last week said the four have case to answer over the Sh96 million.

Yesterday, defence lawyers for the four asked the court for more time to allow them conclude the plea bargain talks with the DPP.

“We have approached the DPP for plea bargain and establish how much money should be returned to the bank so that this case can be settled out of court,” said Dunstan Omari, lawyer for Ms Moraa and Mr Nyambane.

Mr Omari said since last Friday they have held talks with the DPP to find a lasting solution to the dispute.

“We approached the DPP on Friday and we did not conclude the issue as defence counsel travelled up country,” he added.

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Mr Omari said the constitution embraces alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a way of resolving disputes and safe precious judicial time.

The prosecuting counsel, Angela Fuchaka confirmed to Mr Andayi that the DPP and the defence are engaged in talks to settle the case out of court.

In 2010 then High Court judge Mohammed Warsame had ordered the accused persons including Gichana to return all the money stolen from the bank then the case would be marked as settled.

Mr Gichana and two law firms that were involved in the transfer returned part of the Sh96 million.

Mr Sagwe was charged with stealing Sh96.7million from Fina Bank on November 15 2010.

The four including the manager Graham Sagwe and traders Robert Moseti, Gladys Moraa and Obadiah Nyambane have approached the director of public prosecutions (DPP) for an out-of-court deal.

Mr Nyambane and Ms Moraa are charged with stealing Sh96.7m from Eco Bank Limited where Malch held an account.

Ms Moraa was a non-executive director of Malch while Mr Nyambane was CEO of the firm.

They have denied the theft charges and are out on bond.

The Nigerian bank in 2013 acquired a majority stake in Fina Bank, set up in 1991, through a share purchase from current shareholders and direct investment in a deal valued at $100 million (Sh11 billion).


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