Co-op bank ex-manager on spot over Kidero Sh213m graft case
Former City hall Co-operative Bank Manager was on Thursday at pains to explain why they supplied bank statements documents to the Ethic and Anti-corruption Commission in relation to the Sh 213 million transaction probe without a court order.
This is after Charity Kagendo Williams was confronted by Lawyer Paul Ng’arwa before Milimani Anti-corruption Magistrate Douglas Ogoti over a court order that was addressed to her by the anti-graft body to investigate the county's account domiciled with the bank.
Ng'arwa wanted to know why they supplied EACC with documents that were not specified in the search warrant court order.
In her defence, the former bank manager said that she is not the one who supplied the documents to EACC but the Co-operative bank security department did.
“So the order which had been addressed to you did not go to the correct person for execution,” asked Lawyer Ng’arwa who was representing accused Lillian Ndegwa. He was also watching briefs for Philip Nyachoti who is representing Jimmy Kiambaa in the case
"You honour l need your protection here.I have difficulties here because documents were not produced to EACC by myself nor the branch and it is not the City Hall branch that produced documents. Any other department at the bank can be able to handle what is requested in the order,” said Kagendo.
She added that on April 18 2016, the bank received a court order application by the anti-graft body to investigate the county's account number 01141232396601 for the year 2014 to 2015
“l was asked to give the bank opening documents and disclose particulars of the Nairobi city hall county's account which were domiciled at my branch. I did not do it. The security department did it,” Kagendo said.
The lawyer insisted to Kagendo to confirm to the court that all the procedure that documents were supplied was illegular because according to her testimony in court, she is not the one who supplied the documents as per the court order.
The court further heard that no queries were raised with respect to operations of the Nairobi City County account that has seen former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and ten others face fraud charges in court.
While being cross-examined by Lawyer Wills Otieno representing Acting Head of Treasury Maurice Ochieng Okere, Kagendo said that out of the 33,000 accounts they had at the City Hall Branch, the county’s account was best in terms of transactions or performance.
"City hall was the main client. The client was a government account that we used to collect revenue and make payments on their behalf.To me being the city hall manager for three years it was the best client l ever had at the branch," Kagendo informed the court.
She added that Co-operative bank has never had any complainant about the City hall account and issues only arose when they received the order from the anti-graft body saying they are investigating the account over what is believed to be fraud allegations.
"We have never reported any abnomarnacy to EACC, CBK,Financial Reporting Center or any government agency regarding the account in question over the bank transactions statements l have tabled in court relating to the matter here in," Kagendo stated.
The bank statement which the witness was referring to yesterday contains the County operations account held at Co-operative Bank, City Hall branch from January 1, 2014 to April 19, 2016.
"It is shocking to find our best client representatives( the accused person) in court since no questions were raised by any government institution relating to any transactions," Kagendo said
The witness was testifying in a case where Kidero is charged alongside former County Secretary Lilian Ndegwa, Chief Finance Officer Jimmy Mutuku Kiamba and Finance and Planning minister Gregory Mwakanongo.
Others charged are Head of Accounting Stephen Ogago Osiro, Acting Chief Finance Officer Luke Gatimu and Acting Head of Treasury Maurice Ochieng Okere.
However John Githua and Grace Njeri of Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd and Ngurumani Traders Ltd are accused of fraudulently receiving payments from the county government.
They have denied a total of 35 counts.
The charges state that they conspired to commit fraud, which led to the loss of Sh213, 327,300 at the county government between January 16, 2014 and January 25, 2016.
It is said that they allegedly conspired to commit corruption by authorising payment to various companies for services not rendered.
Kidero alone is further accused of dealing with suspected property by allegedly receiving a benefit amounting to Sh 24 million from Lodwar Wholesalers Ltd on diverse dates.