Televangelist James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism Church has been charged with defrauding a businessman of Sh3.6 million at his church office three years ago.
Pastor Ng’ang’a was arraigned before Milimani Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku after losing his bid to stop his prosecution at the High Court.
The preacher denied obtaining Sh3,600,000 from Mr Wickson Njoroge Mwathe pretending that he was in a position to lease to him a residential premises at the upmarket Karen Estate, Nairobi.
The prosecution stated Apostle Ng’ang’a committed the offence on April 6, 2016 at the Neno Evangelism Church Office along Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi.
Defence lawyer Charles Ongoto applied for the release of the city preacher on bond.
“The accused is an apostle, he is a public figure who cannot fail to turn up in court during his trial,” Mr Ongoto stated while pressing for his release.
The lawyer urged the court to grant him free bond or direct that he deposits a Sh100,000 cash bail as earlier granted by police.
April 3 arrest
Pastor Ng’ang’a was arrested on April 3, 2019 and detained at the Central Police Station where he was interrogated before being freed on a police cash bail with instructions he surrenders to court today.
The prosecution did not oppose the release of the pastor on bond.
“I do not have instructions to oppose his release on bond,” a state prosecutor Pamellah Avedi told Ms Mutuku.
Ms Mutuku directed the pastor to deposit a cash bail of Sh500,000 or avail a bond of Sh1 million with one surety of same amount.
The case will be heard on May 16, 2019.
Before being charged, Pastor Ng’ang’a had filed a petition before Justice James Makau seeking to restrain the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from commencing the criminal case against him.
In his petition, Pastor Ng’ang’a had urged that the DPP , the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Inspector General of Police (IG) from investigating him and prosecuting him over the Sh3.6million deal.
Mr Ongoto, who prosecuted the petition, told the judge the matter was of civil nature and that prosecuting the pastor was a blatant affront to his constitutional rights.
The judge was urged to declare that the transaction between Pastor Ng’ang’a and Mr Mwathe was a commercial transaction which did not beckon any criminal sanction.
But a state prosecutor Ashimoshi Shitambashi opposed the petition saying the DPP, the DCI and the IG cannot be barred from discharging their constitutional functions of investigating crime and instituting criminal proceedings if there is evidence.
Justice Makau turned down the application by Pastor Ng’ang’a saying, “he has not presented any evidence to show that his rights will be prejudiced once a criminal case is filed against him.”
Ruled Justice Makau: “The applicant will have an opportunity to defend himself before the trial magistrate and also raise the issue of his rights there.”