Three business owners are accused of stealing cooking oil worth more than Sh33 million from two suppliers.
The three are proprietors of a company that acquires and distributes food-stuff to hunger-stricken areas. They have been charged with fraud and money laundering.
Along with a transporter named Richard Maina Mwaniki, Seth Onyango Orinda and Leon Ondogo Otieno were charged in front of senior principle magistrate Esther Kimilu at the Milimani Law courts.
However, Orinda and Otieno begged the court to let them settle the dispute out of court by returning the Sh4,332,000 they had received from a trader named Abdiwahab Aden Arte, to whom they had provided 1,040-20 liters of cooking oil.
Hussein Adow Mohammed and Rajula Adimo, from whom the three reportedly acquired 6,020 liters of cooking oil on various days between November 15 and December 23, were the targets of the suspects’ alleged fraud plot.
State prosecutor Anne Munyua informed Kimilu that the cooking oil, intended for some of the starving people in the famine-stricken dry regions of 23 counties, was worth Sh33,110,000.
“I do not oppose the release of the accused persons on bond. The complainants want to recover over Sh4 million from them plus the cooking oil stored in a city Godowns,” the complainants attorney, Abdullahi Bare told Kimilu.
The attorney claimed he needs more time to speak with the defense team and come to an agreement on the parameters of the settlement before submitting a report to the prosecution.
Bare had previously challenged the suspects’ release on bond, claiming that the complainants had lost a significant amount of money in the shady business dealings.
However, the detention plea was challenged by Orinda, Otieno, and Mwaniki.
The magistrate was beseeched to skew the scales of justice in their favor.
The fraud suspects claimed that if they had not been imprisoned as of December 23, they would have resolved the civil issue.
The defendant testified in court that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ crime detectives broke into their Westlands premises and stole away laptops, client files, and Sh310,000 for forensic investigations.
They convinced the magistrate to release them on bond in exchange for a promise not to impede the testimony of the prosecution.
On January 30, the case will be discussed for further guidance.