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Sh8.7bn TSS fraud hearing delayed yet again, pushed to March

Mr James Mwangi (right), Aweys Ahmed, Zein Ahmed, Zahir Abbas and Victor Were at the Mombasa law courts on March 22, 2017. PHOTO | PHILIP MUYANGA | NMG
Mr James Mwangi (right), Aweys Ahmed, Zein Ahmed, Zahir Abbas and Victor Were at the Mombasa law courts on March 22, 2017. PHOTO | PHILIP MUYANGA | NMG 

A court has raised concerns over the delay in hearing a case in which five men have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the late tycoon Tahir Sheikh Said Sh8.7 billion.

This was after the case failed to proceed for hearing for the fifth time on Wednesday.

Defence lawyer Mohamed Jelle, again, said he was yet to be supplied with documents by the prosecution hence he was not ready.

Mr Jelle, who urged the court to understand his predicament and inability to proceed with the hearing, said the situation was worsened by the Tuesday evening power blackout since he could not make copies of the documents.

“I urge the court to indulge me in order to put the best defence to my client,” said Mr Jelle.

'Round in circles'

Prosecution counsel Ngina Mutua opposed the application for adjournment, noting that "we are going round in circles” and wanted the case to proceed, saying she had two witnesses in court.

“Dismiss the application for adjournment, I'm ready and prepared to proceed, let this case begin,” said Ms Mutua.

Mombasa Senior Principal magistrate Francis Kyambia seemed frustrated by the unfolding events and told the parties that he was not going to write any ruling but would give a date for the hearing of the case.

“I will not adjourn except on exceptional circumstances, everybody should be ready to proceed on that day instead of going round in circles,” said Mr Kyambia, who noted that the case had generated ‘interest’.

Other defence lawyers Cliff Ombeta, Gakuhi Gacaku and Salim Ghalia had indicated that they were ready to proceed with the hearing of the case though they said they “understood" the predicament facing Mr Jelle.

More drama

There was more drama as parties could not agree on a hearing date, with Ms Mutua seeking to have the case heard at the end of this month while some of her colleagues on the defence team indicating that their diaries had other matters during that period.

The accused are Mr James Mwangi, Aweys Ahmed, Zein Ahmed, Zahir Abbas and Victor Were.

According to the prosecution, the accused jointly with others not before court conspired to defraud the late Said who was popularly known as TSS, the money.

The court heard that the accused conspired to defraud the deceased by filing false share transfer and change of directorship of TSS Group of companies with the Registrar of Companies by pretending that he (deceased) had voluntarily released his shares to Isha Said.

The offence is alleged to have been committed on diverse dates between February 8, 2011 and October 29, 2015 at TSS Grain Millers in Mombasa.

The accused were also charged with forging deed of guarantee and indemnity purporting it to be genuine made by the late tycoon to enable them secure a bank loan of Sh1.5 billion, the property of Kenya Commercial Bank.

The accused also face six other counts of forgery.

Stealing

Mr Mwangi and Mr Aweys Mohamed have been charged with stealing valuation reports, certificate of lease, PIN certificate and feasibility study booklet belonging to the deceased.

The two were also charged with an alternative count of handling stolen goods.

The accused have denied the charges and were released on a Sh3 million bond with a surety of similar amount.

The case has been fixed for hearing on March 8.

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