The High Court has dismissed a fraud case involving a former operations manager at Kenya Commercial Bank accused of embezzling more than Sh70 million after the lender failed to prosecute the case for about a decade.
Justice David Majanja said although the lender blamed the court for failing to take steps to proceed with mediation after the case was mentioned in March 2017, KCB did not take steps thereafter to either enquire about the mediation or even to take steps to prosecute the suit.
Ms Anne Kajuju was alleged to have been the mastermind of a scheme where Sh73 million was paid out through cheques stolen from the bank.
She was accused that on diverse dates between November 3, 2008 and March 4, 2009, she fraudulently and without authority, signed various bankers cheques which were in her custody for varying amounts payable to several persons, among them her three children, husband, sister and the best man during her wedding.
“It is recognised that in this day and age parties have the obligation to prosecute the suit actively. Long gone are the days when advocates and their clients would just sit and wait for the court to take steps. They must now actively prosecute their suits,” Justice Majanja said.
The Judge noted that the case was about fraud allegedly involving Ms Kajuju and 24 others “and as time passes, memories fade, documents get lost, witnesses disappear and no doubt 11 years in the circumstances is a long time and would no doubt prejudice a fair trial”.
Ms Kajuju asked the court to dismiss the case arguing that the bank had not taken any active steps to prosecute the suit and that the failure to prosecute the case would prejudice her right to a fair hearing.
At some point, the court had recommended mediation which did not take off because a mediator was never appointed.
Thereafter no action took place until Ms Kajuju and Charles Magondu filed the application to dismiss the case.
She was employed by the lender as the operations manager at the bank’s Prestige Plaza Branch on Ngong Road, Nairobi.
Also sucked into the matter were two law firms.
In 2010, Justice Martha Koome, then a Judge of the High Court, froze several accounts belonging to the suspects, pending the hearing and determination of the matter.