How pastor conned slain drug baron Ibrahim Akashas Sh5m

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 00:00 |
Bakhtash Akasha Abdalla (left) and Vijaygiri Anandgiri Goswami at the Mombasa Law Courts during the mention of their case on November 20, 2014. Photo/PD/FILE

One of the six men, who conned the family of slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha of Sh5 million after posing as a State House official who could help them secure the release of their sons from US courts, is a pastor.

Chris Mwai, who runs a church at Shanzu in Mombasa, has been identified by the Akasha family as the “mastermind” of the con-game.

Mwai, who together with the other suspects is alleged to have been moving around in high-end GK vehicles, met at his church the wife to Baktash Akasha Najma Juma, who had gone to him seeking intervention to secure the release of her husband from US jail where he had been detained after being extradited from Kenya.

Najma told court that the pastor conspired with others to obtain the money from her through pretence. 

Najma said she fell for the scammers who allegedly claimed to be highly connected to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Najma said she opened up to Mwai at the church and the pastor allegedly volunteered to link her up with a well-connected person who would help her meet the President.

Mwai introduced Najma to Stephen Nzioka, alias Steve, based in Nairobi, and after some days, promised that the Akasha brothers would be released on November 28, 2018 and that they would arrive in Kenya on December 2, 2018.

Money paid out

A series of meetings later, saw Najma eventually give out Sh5 million. The court heard that Najma gave out the money in phases, starting with Sh500,000 that was to be allegedly given to State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua to facilitate a meeting with the President.

She later gave another Sh500,000 which was to ensure they got the extradition letter after meeting Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary Monica Juma. 

The suspect, Pastor Mwai, is said to have asked for a further Sh1.5 million, to enable him to get the case out of court, with the balance given on diverse dates.

However, Pastor Mwai has, through his lawyer Wycliffe Makasembo, denied the charges and asked Shanzu senior resident magistrate David Odhiambo to order that Najma, her two children Hayat Bakhtash Akasha and Ayub Bakhtash Akasha investigated over corruption.

“If the money allegedly handed over to the accused person was meant to buy the freedom of the two brothers who at the time had already been extradited to the US to face drug-related charges, then the complainant gave out the money knowing it was meant to bribe the purported Kenyan and US officials to facilitate their release. This is corruption,” said the lawyer.

Await sentencing

Bakhtash was sentenced to 25 years in prison on August 16, while his brother, Ibrahim Akasha is awaiting sentencing on November 8. 

The Akasha brothers, accused of conspiring to import heroin to the US among other crimes, entered a plea bargain with the US government. The case will be mentioned on November 14.

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