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Ex-Kenya Re financeboss jailed for another three years for fraud

Former Kenya Reinsurance Corporation finance director John Faustin Kinyua on Friday suffered a fresh  blow after he was sentenced to another three years in prison over graft charges.

Kinyua is already serving another three-year jail term after he was found guilty a month ago of tricking taxpayers into buying a house in Embakasi’s Villa Franca Estate.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Felix Kombo on Thursday issued the fresh sentence after he found guilty Kinyua together with his co-accused persons Mary Njeri Ng’ang’a Kimingi and her company Rockhound Properties of illegally acquiring a house belonging to the corporation in Karen.

The magistrate did not give Kinyua the option of a fine even after he pleaded for leniency saying he was sick and that his condition would worsen in prison.

He also said he had suffered emotionally and materially for the 14 years the case has dragged in court when the property on Ndege Road in Karen was sold.

Kombo noted that there was no medical evidence to back his claims that he suffers from hypertension among other diseases.

On the other hand, Kombo gave Njeri a non-custodial sentence and directed her to pay a fine of Sh1 million for fraudulently acquiring the property.

 The businesswoman was also fined Sh500, 000 and in default to serve 18 months in prison for the two counts of fraudulently acquiring the property and conflict of interest. Kombo said he could not ignore the fact that Njeri was a single mother of three and that her sick mother depended on her.

The court further directed that the over payment of the property amounting to Sh132,504 held in the accounts of Muriu Mungai & Co Advocates to be refunded back to Kenya Reinsurance Corporation in seven days. The money was still being held by the law firm, which drafted the agreement.

Kombo ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt the charges facing the accused.

Charges against them stated that on December 8, 2005 in Nairobi county, jointly fraudulently acquired a public property namely LR No. 1160/613 situated in Karen belonging to Kenya Reinsurance Corporation.

“I find that the two accused person acted fraudulently while committing the offences. I, therefore, convict them on two charges of fraudulent acquisition of public property and conflict of interest,” ruled the magistrate.

Kimingi was the director of Rockhound Properties, the company that allegedly purchased the house. She has been found guilty of signing the agreements on behalf of the company.

The magistrate noted that the Kenya-Re board was kept in the dark by senior two officials namely the managing director Jackson Githaka and the company secretary Jane Florence Otieno.

Githaka is said to have authorised the sale while the company secretary prepared the sale agreement and engaged the law firm to execute the agreement.

Kombo argued that there was no reason as to why the officials withheld the information from the board and the only conclusion he could make is that they were complicit.

“It is my finding that the accused persons jointly contributed to the fraud,” he said.

The three had initially been charged alongside former officials of Kenya-Re Githaka (managing director) and Otieno (company secretary) but Githaka, who is also serving term in prison over another scandal and Otieno were let off the hook, because the charge sheet against them was faulty.

Kenya’s agency tasked with fighting graft, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigated the allegation that the property on Ndege Road, had been fraudulently sold to Rockhound Properties.

Alexander Forbes had sent a cheque of Sh1, 070, 043, while United Insurance Company Ltd had sent Sh11, 062, 461.

The officials allegedly hatched the scheme, claiming that the Sh12,132,504, deposits were for the purchase of the house, which used to belong to Dr Joseph arap Ngok. Ngok wanted to purchase the house at Sh12 million and paid Sh9 million but failed to clear the balance.

The corporation later agreed that since he had not paid the full amount, he should be paying rent. The dispute is still before the High Court.

The prosecution called 16 witnesses among them lawyers who were involved in the transactions, managers from the two insurance firms, handwriting experts and document examiners.

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