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Bread market war lands two bakers in court on work permit fraud charges

Anandkumar Bharatkumar Modi, Keval Umit Shah

Bread bakers Anandkumar Bharatkumar Modi and Keval Umit Shah at the Milimani Law Courts on September 23, 2021. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NMG

A former employee of Festive bread maker and a director of Panafric Bakery have been charged with falsifying the cancellation of a work permit.

Anandkumar Bharatkumar Modi and Keval Umit Shah were charged Thursday with forging an online application requesting the Immigration Department to cancel the permit.

The prosecution, led by James Gachoka, said the two uploaded the form online, purporting it was generated and signed by the director of DPL Festive Limited, the manufacturer of Festive bread.

Mr Gachoka told Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi that Mr Modi and Mr Shah conspired to commit the crime between April 15 and July 14, within Nairobi County.

Mr Modi, an Indian national, was separately charged with forging a form seeking the cancellation of his work permit on April 28, purporting it had been signed by the DPL director.

Business rivalry

The court heard that Mr Modi and his wife worked for the Festive bread maker for a period of one year before moving to set up their own firm, Panafric Bakery.

Mr Ochoi heard the case revolves around business competition since Mr Shah is the director of Panafric Bakery.

Mr Shah was charged with presenting the application for the forged work permit cancellation to the Immigration Department.

Through their lawyer, the accused applied to be freed on reasonable bail terms - a cash bail of Sh30,000.

Mr Shah also asked for his laptop, which had been confiscated by authorities for forensic examination.

“They want it returned because he uses it for business,” their lawyer said, promising that the accused would cooperate with the investigating officers.

The prosecution did not oppose their application for release, saying they are entitled to bond under Article 49 of the Constitution, but noted the Sh30,000 was not commensurate with the crime.

The prosecutor also asked the court to take into account that Mr Modi is a foreigner and that the offence involves falsification of documents from the Immigration office.

Mr Gachoka further asked the magistrate to direct the accused to surrender their passports to the court.

In his ruling, Mr Ochoi ordered the businessmen to deposit a bond of Sh500,000.

The case will be mentioned on October 5 for issuing of pre-trial directions.