DPP clears ex-NBK boss in Sh1 billion fraud case

Munir Ahmed
Former National Bank of Kenya managing director Munir Ahmed. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Director of Public Prosecution has cleared former National Bank of Kenya (NBK) #ticker:NBK chief executive Munir Sheikh Ahmed over the alleged loss of Sh1 billion from the bank’s coffers.

Correspondents filed in court by Mr Ahmed to support his claim for compensation for his dismissal from the bank in April 2016 reveals that the prosecution is instead mulling adopting him as witness.

Mr Ahmed, who was removed from his position for alleged cooking of books, wants the bank to reinstate him to the position of managing director on the terms he enjoyed prior to his termination or be paid Sh453 million compensation in the alternative.

“I wish to inform you that all our criminal investigations files were completed and forwarded to the director of public prosecutions.

The director of prosecutions in turn cleared Mr Munir Ahmed Sheikh of all the charges and allegations levelled against him,” reads a letter signed by Ngatia Iregi, Director Banking Fraud Investigations department.

Sacrificial lamb

In April 2018, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) fined Mr Munir Sh5 million, saying he led the board and other senior managers to overstate profits of NBK for second and third quarters of 2015 in addition to siphoning about Sh1 billion from the bank’s coffers.

Mr Ahmed denies these allegations in the documents filed in court, arguing that CMA’s sanctions were part of a scheme to make him the sacrificial lamb in order to protect other members of the board.

The CMA also disqualified him from holding a board position in any publicly listed company or working for a licensed entity for a period of three years.

However, in July, the High Court temporarily restrained CMA from demanding Sh5 million in fines after Mr Ahmed challenged the fine and the ban.

The CMA further disqualified former NBK Head of Treasury Solomon Alubala and former Chief Finance Officer Chris Kisire for a period of 10 years and 3 years respectively.

Denied accusations

Mr Alubala was fined Sh104.8 million and Mr Kisire Sh1 million. The two were also referred to the DPP for criminal prosecution.

They have denied the accusations.

They are accused of having given instructions to Edge Capital and Advest Company to pay any senior executives or having received any kickbacks from the two companies.

Mr Kisire says he was not involved in any way in sourcing the two companies when they were engaged to lead a deposit mobilisation programme.

Under the programme, the lender paid the two huge commissions for helping drive up money deposits by the lender’s clients, payments which CMA said were irregular.