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Top lawyer faces arrest over Sh450m CBA loans fraud

Commercial Bank of Africa's Kirinyaga Road
Commercial Bank of Africa's Kirinyaga Road branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A top Nairobi lawyer who was named among suspects who forged land documents to secure five loans worth Sh449 million from Commercial Bank of Africa has moved to the High Court seeking to forestall his arrest and prosecution.

George Kithi says his imminent prosecution in court over the validity of the titles that were used to secure the loan is illegal, irrational and made in bad faith, noting that the bank is using its connection with the first family to harass him and others.

Mr Kithi and his law firm of Kithi & Company Advocates are among 17 individuals and companies that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) wants prosecuted over grand forgery to secure five loans worth Sh449 million from the CBA.

“The imminent investigations, arrest and arraignment over the legality or otherwise of titles and or/legal charges created over properties…in disputes…is unreasonable, illegal, irrational, improper, disproportionate, and in bad faith," he said.

The DCI wants the suspects charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining credit by false pretence, forgery of documents of title and uttering false documents.

Stephen Warui, who was a relationship manager at the CBA when the crime was committed, is also named in the list of high-profile suspects.

Others who are implicated are Edna Khaemba, a senior State counsel and lawyer Gladys Mboya.

But Mr Kithi has sought to absolve himself of any blame noting that after receiving the land titles from its client the CBA, his firm he says did due diligence at the land registry. The CBA retained his law firm to register security documents including charges, mortgages and deed of rental assignment.

He says that his firm handled three transactions which are at the centre of the dispute. Mr Kithi argues that in all cases he received instructions to do due diligence and register the documents as security at the land registry.

The lawyer says of all the three transactions, two loans of Sh260 million and a third one whose value he has not revealed was handled by a clerk at his law firm who has since left the firm.

All the companies that borrowed the cash belong to one family of mother, father daughter and sons. They are Patrick Kangethe, Edward Kangethe, George Kangethe, Margaret Kangethe, and Gladys Kangethe, the owners of companies and among the wanted list.

But on his part, he claims the law firm was legally discharged when it completed the transactions and handed over the documents to the bank.

He further notes that at some point the borrowers admitted having colluded with some bank employees and land registry to perpetuate fraud and agreed to substitute the security.

He claims that it has been proved the land belong to the borrowers but they have managed to secure several titles that were used to secure multiple loans from Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY, Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP, Diamond Trust Bank #ticker:DTK and CBA using same titles.

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