United Millers’ directors charged with ­Sh79m sugar fraud


United Millers Limited directors Sunil Narshi Shah (left) Kamal Narshi Punja and Magnesh Kumar Verma (distant right) at Milimani law Courts Nairobi on May 10, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Three directors of a Kisumu based milling company have been charged in a Sh79.4 million sugar fraud allegedly committed six years ago.

Mr Sunil Narshi Shah, Mr Kamal Narshi Punja Shah and Magnesh Kumar Verma of United Millers Limited answered seven counts of defrauding businessman B N Kotecha & Sons Limited Sh79, 471,000 in the sugar trade deal.

State prosecutor Everlyn Onunga did not oppose a bail plea for the directors saying “they have complied with a court order they appear in court to plead to the fraud charges.”

Ms Onunga had informed the court that the plea against the millers was supposed to have been taken on June 3, 2020.

Ms Onunga said Sunil, Kamal and Magnesh were freed on a Sh70,000 police bond by the Muthaiga Officer Commanding Station when they appeared for interrogation.

Defence lawyer Ibrahim Stanley Ogejo applied to have the accused released on similar bail terms as their general manager Henry Munywoki Kavita who was charged on April 27,2021.

Although the state did not oppose the release of the suspects on bond lawyer Prof Tom Ojienda and Meso Ogada for B N Kotecha & Sons Limited said stringent bail terms should be imposed since “the accused have been taking court in rounds since June 3 2020.”

Mr Ogada told the magistrate although the accused had informed the court they had been advised to stay in isolation by doctors at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referal Hospital, they “have not been to the hospital.”

But Mr Andayi informed Mr Ogada that they had dealt with the medical issues last time when Mr Kavita was arraigned.

Mr Ogejo had undertaken to produce the directors in court immediately they are allowed to interact.

Mr Andayi allowed the bail plea and ordered each of the accused to deposit a cash bail of Sh400,000 with an alternative bond of Sh1million until May 24, 2021 when they will appear in court for fixing of hearing dates.

The directors were also warned against travelling outside the jurisdiction of the court without permission.

The three directors and Mr Kavita are charged that on April 2, 2015 at an unknown place within Kenya jointly conspired with intend to defraud B N Kotecha & Sons Sh79.4million.

The four allegedly pretended they had lost business as United Millers Limited to their clients by failure to supply sugar.

Mr Kavita and the co-accused are charged with defeating course of justice by filing Kisumu High Court Civil Suit Number 38 of 2015 allegedly using falsified documents.

In the case United Millers Limited sued B N Kotecha & Sons Limited, Hemal Kishor Kotecha and Harshil Kishore Kotecha.

Mr Kavita was separately charged with forging a local purchase order number 106 for Alysam Stores on April 15 2015 purporting to be a genuine LPO.