Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has denied shielding former Family Bank Chief Executive Officer Peter Munyiri over the Sh1.6 billion National Youth Service (NYS) scam.
Responding to a Twitter campaign accusing him of allegedly protecting Munyiri from prosecution, Tobiko noted that he had recommended his prosecution alongside Family Bank but they obtained an injunction barring him from taking the step and a final decision on the matter would be decided on December 16, this year.
A tweet by prosecution counsel Katto Wambua indicated that the DPP had approved charges under the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act (POCAMLA) before the due secured the temporary orders.
In a letter to Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, dated November 21, 2016, Tobiko notes that he had written a letter to Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge seeking to know the bank’s financial status at the time and the likely impact of prosecuting the bank for non-compliance with reporting obligations would have on the bank itself and the banking sector as a whole.
Though Njoroge did not respond to Tobiko in person, the DPP learnt from Muhoro that he had no problem with him going ahead with taking action against the bank and its former directors since Family Bank was in a stable financial status at the time and its prosecution would not have heard any adverse effect on it or the sector as a whole.
On the contrary, it would have a positive effect on the sector as it would underscore and enhance compliance,” the governor noted. A CBK official Reuben Kipchirchir Cheres recorded a statement in support of the decision.
As a result. Tobiko concluded that there was adequate evidence that Family Bank contravened the reporting obligations under section 44 of POCAMLA and is, therefore, criminally culpable for the offence of failure to report suspicious or unusual transactions or activities that could constitute or be related to money laundering or the proceeds of crime contrary to section 44(2) as read with section 5 and 16(2) of POCAMLA.
“I am, therefore, satisfied that the evidentiary requirement is satisfied. Further, in light of the professional/expert opinion obtained from CBK governor, I am satisfied that the public interest test requirement is equally satisfied,” he says in his letter to the DCI chief.
Apart from Munyiri, Tobiko says other Family Bank officials that should be held responsible are KTDA Senior Branch Manager Robert Oscar Nyaga, AML Compliance Manager Charles Kamau Thiongo and Head of Risk and Compliance Raphael Mutinda Nduda. They are all on suspension.
They officials are accused of abetting and aiding the offence of money laundering through opening numerous bank accounts, authorising suspicious transactions and failing to report cash transactions above US$10,000 contrary to section 44(6) of POCAMLA.
Others on Tobiko’s cross hairs are KTDA Branch Supervisor Nancy Njambi, Relationship Manager Platinum KTDA Branch Meldon Awino Onyango and Customer Service Supervisor KTDA Josephine Njeri Wairi.
However, Tobiko absolved Family Bank directors saying there is no evidence that they took part in the day to day operations of the bank and only learnt of the suspicious transactions linked to businesswoman Josephine Kabura during a board meeting on July 31, 2015 and that they were assured by management that they had been reported to the Financial Reporting Centre as required by law.