Team to probe Sh2bn fraud in 6 companies

Director of Public Prosecution Kiriako Tobiko. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG
Director of Public Prosecution Kiriako Tobiko. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG  

The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has ordered the formation of a joint team in Mombasa and Nairobi to investigate fraud at six private companies worth Sh2 billion.

The firms belong to business mogul, the late Premji Jina Manji Pindolla whose sons have accused their cousins of defrauding the estate.

Mr Tobiko asked the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Ndegwa Muhoro to form the joint team.

Through Principal Prosecuting Counsel Jami Yamina, Mr Tobiko also wants a Mombasa court to withdraw a case facing two businessmen and a secretary charged with forgery relating to the transfer of shares valued at Sh20 million in one of the companies.

Mr Tobiko said Mr Paresh Shivji Jadva, Shijvi Jadva Varsani and Victor Arara who also face forgery cases, were charged before investigations were concluded.

The DPP’s letter was produced before Mombasa Senior Resident Magistrate Edgar Kagoni.

“The report of the document examiners had not been included in the case file. Nor is it clear whether the signatures of the accused and the documents signed by the complainant’s late father were ever submitted for analysis. Officers from the registrar of companies have not recorded statements to clarify who were the directors of the six companies,” added the letter.

The DPP further stated that parallel investigations by the DCI have not been concluded and might lead to more charges being preferred against the suspects.

“He (DPP) has therefore directed the director of criminal investigations to form a joint team comprising the investigators from Mombasa and Nairobi to investigate the complex fraud involving the six companies.

Thorough investigations be conducted on all the companies, banks and or properties involved,” added the letter written by senior assistant DPP,  G. W Murungi on behalf of Mr Tobiko.

“The criminal case against the suspects be withdrawn pending the outcome of the comprehensive investigations. The file be forwarded to the DPP for direction once the investigations are completed.”

Defence lawyers Jared Magolo and Gakuhi Gacaku opposed the DPP’s application to withdraw the case saying it is tantamount to fabricating new evidence against their clients.

“The accused person were unfairly charged and the prosecution now wants to proceed to manufacture new evidence against them,” said Mr Magolo.

Shivji Premji Patel and family through lawyer Michael Oloo told the court the investigation officer in the matter seemed not to be independent.

Mr Oloo blamed the sluggish progress of the case on laxity by investigators adding that the court has duty to censure police when they frustrate the cause of justice.

However, magistrate Kagoni allowed the DPP’s application saying it is within his power to withdraw the case before the court pronounces its decision.

“I see nothing prejudicial to the accused person if the DPP withdraws the case against them. I will therefore allow the application by the DPP to discharge them,” ruled the magistrate.

The suspects Mr Paresh Shivji Jadva, Shijvi Jadva Varsani and Victor Arara were also charged with two counts of making transfer of share documents.

They denied the charges and were each released on a Sh2 million bond or an alternative of Sh500, 000 cash bail.

According to the prosecution, the accused forged a transfer of share instrument purporting to transfer the ordinary share belonging to the late Premji Jina Manji Pindolla held in Ghanshyam Ltd to Jadvabhai Parbat Varsani.

They also allegedly jointly with others not before court knowingly and fraudulently uttered a false a transfer of share form to the collector of stamp duty at the lands office in Mombasa and Registrar of Companies Nairobi.

The court also heard that the accused intermeddled in the affairs of the estate of the late Pindolla the free property held by the deceased in Ghanshyam Builders Ltd.

They also allegedly jointly with others not before court made a transfer of share document purporting to transfer the share.