An American priest at the centre of a row with nuns over ownership of a Nairobi missionary hospital was on Tuesday charged with fraud.
Father William Charles Fryda of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society denied three counts of forgery, uttering a false document and conspiracy to defraud.
The prosecution told the court that the Catholic priest forged a letter for change of signatories of the St Mary’s Mission Hospital’s accounts at Prime Bank, five years ago.
“At an unknown place within the Republic of Kenya with intent to deceive, the accused forged a letter for change of signatories on accounts domiciled in the said bank’s Riverside branch while purporting it to have been issued by the St Marys Hospital, a fact he knew was false,” the prosecution said.
The court heard that the accused knowingly and fraudulently uttered a change of signatories through a letter addressed to Jane Mungai Chafallu, an official at the said bank. He is also accused of conspiring with others who were not in court to defraud nuns of ownership of the said health facility.
The ugly row concerning ownership of the church affiliated medical institution got into the spotlight last year when the Assumption of Sisters, Nairobi, forcefully evicted the old management together with staff at the Langata based hospital following the nuns’ victory in a dispute before the Environment and Lands Court at Milimani.
Last September Justice Munyao Sila granted the nuns the leeway to take over management of St Mary’s Hospital from the priest. Consequently, the nuns stormed the health facility in January. The priest claims to be the founder of the facility.
Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi ordered him to pay Sh500,000 as bond to secure his release from custody pending his trial.