Court sets free Sh62m fraud convict on medical grounds
In an unprecedented ruling, a former Assistant General manager with the Insurance Company of East Africa (ICEA) Lincoln Kivuti Njeru who was last September jailed for nine years for stealing Sh62.8 million has been released on medical grounds.
Njeru was convicted by Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on three counts of stealing by an officer.
He was then to serve three years on each count, with the sentences running concurrently.
He however later filed an application for review of sentence. The main reason given was that he was suffering from acute asthma, a situation he claimed was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A letter from Nairobi Remand Health Centre confirms, that the applicant is unwell and weak considering his age of 60 years,” Justice Hedwig Ongudi said.
Njeru, through his advocate, also told the court that he was ready to pay a fine of Sh1 million which was the amount he had paid as cash bail and had not been refunded.
Further, the ICEA had filed a civil suit, at the Commercial and Tax Division Milimani, for the refund of the money stolen which Njeru said he was ready to refund.
He was first charged in court on October 4, 2008 and the case finalised on September 15, 2020.
“As found by the probation officer, the applicant is actually a candidate for a non-custodial sentence.
I have considered the pain and agony he went through as he waited for the finalizstion of his case for 12 years. I hereby place him on probation for three (3) years His cash bail should be refunded,” the judge ruled.
An audit for the period between January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2006 revealed that a total of Sh62,704, 835 was paid to the collapsed Nyaga Stockbrokers from the sale of ICEA’s securities following the instructions of Njeru, when he was ICEA’s investment manager.
The court heard that he withdrew the money from Barclays Bank (now Absa), Housing Finance and Nyaga Stockbrokers but the money ended in his accounts.