Companies

Ex-ICEA manager out of prison after sentence review

njeru

Mr Lincolin Kivuti Njeru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • According to an order issued by Justice Hedwig Ong'udi, Lincolin Kivuti Njeru will be on probation for three years, under the supervision of Macharia P. N., a probation officer.
  • The judge also directed that Mr Njeru, who was jailed in September last year, should be refunded his cashbail of Sh1 million that he had deposited at the lower court during the criminal trial that took more than ten years.
  • Justice Ong'undi made the order while ruling on Mr Njeru's application for review of the sentence.

A former manager of Insurance Company East Africa (ICEA), jailed for three years for stealing more than Sh62.7 million from his employer, has been released from prison and put on probation due to his deteriorating health.

According to an order issued by Justice Hedwig Ong'udi, Lincolin Kivuti Njeru will be on probation for three years, under the supervision of Macharia P. N., a probation officer.

The judge also directed that Mr Njeru, who was jailed in September last year, should be refunded his cashbail of Sh1 million that he had deposited at the lower court during the criminal trial that took more than ten years.

Justice Ong'undi made the order while ruling on Mr Njeru's application for review of the sentence.

"I have considered the application, the period of waiting for this matter to be concluded, the applicant's deteriorating health, and the Probation Officer’s report filed on September 21, 2020 before sentence. The Probation Officer’s report has also made mention of the applicant’s poor health," said the judge. The prosecution's side was not opposed to the sentence review to enable Mr Njeru pay a fine.

Mr Njeru was sentenced on September 21, 2020 after being found guilty of three counts of stealing by an officer contrary to Section 282 of the Penal Code. He was then sentenced to serve three years on each count without the option of a fine. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Court documents and a letter from Nairobi Remand Health Centre indicate that he is suffering from acute asthma, and has difficulty in breathing. He indicated that in this era of Covid 19, his life could be in danger.

Justice Ong'udi noted that the complainant in the case, the Insurance Company, had filed a civil suit for refund and recovery of the stolen money.

Mr Njeru was first arraigned in court on October 4, 2008 and the case was only finalised on September 15, 2020, a period of 12 years.

"This was a very long wait for Mr Njeru and may have contributed to his current illness," said Justice Ong'udi.

She also noted that Mr Njeru, who expressed remorse over what had happened, was ready and willing to go in for a settlement.

"The applicant needs to be out there to organise for the refund depending on the outcome of the civil case. As found by the Probation Officer the applicant is actually a candidate for a non custodial sentence," said Justice Ong'udi.

Evidence tabled at the trial court indicated that Mr Njeru received Sh62.7 million through the collapsed Nyaga stockbrokers for sale of ICEA share investments and channelled the proceeds to his personal accounts.

The money was supposed to be wired to the insurance firm’s accounts. Mr Njeru, who was then an investment manager at the insurance firm, committed the offences between January 17, 2003 and September 20, 2005.

He however said the cash got lost through erosion of share value at the Nairobi bourse.

"From the totality of evidence presented by the prosecution the losses experienced by ICEA were correctly linked to the accused person and not as investment losses as he purported," said trial magistrate Francis Andayi in his ruling.

The magistrate said Mr Njeru could not explain the source of the millions of shillings he held in his bank accounts.