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Deep: Inside Mwilu’s Sh131m Controversial Deals with Imperial Bank.

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Embattled Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was a regular customer of the collapsed Imperial Bank whose eye for prime parcels of land saw her take out at least Sh131 million in loans, documents filed in court have revealed.

Justice Mwilu’s loan dealings with Imperial Bank, alongside eight land titles that were charged as collateral to secure the multi-million shilling advances, are at the heart of criminal charges that the Director of Criminal Prosecutions (DPP) has levelled against Kenya’s second senior-most judge.

The judge is facing 13 counts of abuse of office, tax evasion and fraudulent recovery of loan securities.

Investigators at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have accused the Deputy CJ of using her position to illegally obtain Sh12 million from Imperial Bank between August and October 2013. In her defence, however, the Supreme Court judge says that Imperial Bank extended her the Sh12 million as an unsecured loan, which she has since repaid in full.

“The sum referred to in count two of the intended charge was an unsecured loan advanced to Justice Mwilu by the bank and credited to her account,” Justice Mwilu says in her petition seeking to stop the DPP’s criminal prosecution.

High Court judge Chacha Mwita has suspended the Deputy CJ’s prosecution until October 9, when he will hear the matter. Justice Mwilu has sued the DPP, Noordin Haji, DCI boss George Kinoti, the Chief Magistrate’s Court and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki.

In total the court papers show Justice Mwilu borrowed from Imperial Bank a short-term loan of Sh60 million, a Sh59.3 million long-term loan and the claimed Sh12 million unsecured loan. Remarkably, the affidavit and documents she has filed as evidence show that the Sh60 million loan was advanced to her one year before she bought the land used as collateral and before it was transferred to her.

Justice Mwilu’s affidavit and the attached documents indicate that Imperial Bank advanced her the loan on December 2, 2013. She says that she bought the land on December 18, 2014, which is a year after the same property was used to secure her borrowing.

The Sh59.3 million loan was secured by charging five parcels of land registered as 1265, 1273, 1274, 1275 and 1276 at the Ministry of Lands. Ownership documents for the five pieces of land are still in Imperial Bank’s custody.

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On December 2, 2013, while still a Court of Appeal judge, Justice Mwilu used two pieces of land in Nairobi (reference numbers 3734/202 and 3734/209) as security for a Sh60 million loan.

One month after Imperial Bank was placed under receivership, she wrote to the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), through lawyer Stanley Muluvi, seeking a substitution of the loan security.

DCI investigators and DPP Haji believe that Justice Mwilu may have induced KDIC CEO Mohamud Mohamud to illegally release the two parcels of land to her. The judge asked the KDIC to release the two pieces of land to her in place of a half-acre property registered as 3734/1129. The KDIC, however, asked her to clear the Sh60 million loan, which had attracted Sh2.8 million in interest and the unsecured borrowing. The unsecured loan balance was then Sh2 million. The Imperial Bank receiver-manager also asked her to make partial payment on the long-term loan.

Justice Mwilu’s lawyer, Mr Muluvi, notified Imperial Bank’s receiver-manager of a Sh65 million payment on January 1, 2016, which was to honour the KDIC’s demand.

In January 2016, the KDIC wrote to Mr Muluvi acknowledging the payment and asking him to furnish it with the original title deed for the land that was to be used as a substitute. Documents Justice Mwilu has filed in court do not indicate whether she deposited the title deed.

The affidavits state that she is still repaying the long-term loan whose balance currently stands at Sh43 million. “On January 1, 2016 Mr Muluvi notified the bank of Justice Mwilu’s payment of Sh65 million in the bank’s account and required the bank’s release of the original titles for properties land reference numbers 3734/202 and 3734/209 together with duly executed discharge of charge,” the judge adds in her affidavit.

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KenGen profit nearly doubles to Sh8.2b : The Standard

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KenGen has nearly doubled its net profit for the six months period ending December 31, 2019, boosted by a tax rebate from construction of a new power plant.

The power producer saw its net profit increase by 98 per cent, hitting Sh8.17 billion from Sh4.12 billion reported in the similar period of 2018. KenGen attributed this to the capital allowance rising from the completion of a 165MW Olkaria V power plant in November 2019.
Completion of the power station, however, led to a net cash and cash equivalent dip from Sh8.76 billion to Sh5.23 billion. This was on the back of lower disbursement from a borrowing of Sh1.9 billion and payment of dividends of Sh1.85 billion.
The firm’s profit-before tax increased by 4.3 per cent. This was on the back of lower finance costs “following final repayment of the infrastructure bond”.

SEE ALSO :Kenya imports more power despite rains

The company’s Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano, said the growth was buoyed up by a 6.4 per cent increase in electricity revenue –  from Sh15.04 billion in 2018 to Sh16 billion for the six months period – following the completion of the Olkaria V geothermal power plant.
Revenue from geothermal power consumption increased from Sh8.6 billion to Sh9.4 billion, which was a 2 percentage rise in contribution to the total KenGen revenue (59 per cent from 57 per cent). Hydroelectricity revenue reduced from Sh4.41 billion to Sh4.39 billion.
More revenue

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

KenGen also attributed the growth in revenues to acquisition of two drilling contracts in Ethiopia as part of their business diversification strategy. The company bids to provide cheaper energy amid what they term a competitive market.
“We have already started implementing our diversification strategy and have ongoing geothermal drilling and consultancy contracts in Ethiopia and Kenya,” Miano said.

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SEE ALSO :Eddy Njoroge takes the helm of global standards body

She said the construction of Olkaria 1 Unit 6 was on course.


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Omtatah seeks to stop Kenya Airways from sending trainees overseas : The Standard

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Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah has moved to court seeking to stop Kenya Airways from sending pilot trainees outside the country.
Omtatah wants the airline stopped from sending candidates to South Africa as per its advert that closed on December 11,2019, inviting applicants under its Ab Initio Pilot Trainee Program. He said the courses can be offered by local schools that have capacity and facilities to offer similar trainings.
“I also want the court to certify this matter as urgent and be granted a hearing on priority basis,” said Omtatah in the petition filed at Milimani constitutional court. He said KQ has solicited and received and continues to receive public money to keep the company afloat.

SEE ALSO :Law review looms as BBI team gets fresh term

“By soliciting and receiving public funds, KQ has become a public entity with regard to the necessary safeguard of the said public funds, including by being bound by Kenya’s public procurement laws,” he says in his petition.
Taxpayer funds
He said under Article 10 of the constitution, the company is also bound to be patriotic and equitable yet it continues to send its trainee pilots to South Africa while Kenya has government approved training organisations. Omtatah said he is aggrieved that, by disregarding Kenyan pilot training facilities and sending its trainee pilots to South Africa, KQ is not using the Kenyan taxpayer funds it receives in accordance with the law.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

He added that KQ has failed to comply with the constitution and the Public Procurement and Asset and Disposal Act, 2015. In his petition, Omtatah said the court has powers and jurisdiction to stop the blatant disregard for the rule of law.
“KQ is not using the Kenyan taxpayer funds it receives in accordance with the law,” he added.

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SEE ALSO :Activist, State face off in court over SGR project

The Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, National Treasury and Attorney General are key respondents in the suit. KQ is yet to respond to the petition. Omtatah was directed to serve the respondents with his petition to have the matter heard on March 4, 2020.


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Chinese firm says grooming Kenyans to take over SGR : The Standard

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The Chinese government will hand over operations of the Standard Gauge Railway to Kenyans in six years. 

Africa Star Railway Operation Company (Afristar) is contracted to run and maintain the 592km Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) for 10 years after which management will revert to Kenyans.
Now in its fourth year since the deal was signed in May 31, 2017, the company is celebrating 1,000 days of safe operations together with a successful skills transfer programme.
Afristar General Manager Liu Jiuping said this week that skills transfer and subsequent handover of operations to locals was on the right track, having already hit the 80 per cent mark.

SEE ALSO :Chinese borrowers drown in online lending’s ‘bottomless pit’

“Since operation commencement, Afristar has been building a quality SGR brand through detailed management, people-focused service, optimised transport organisation mode and allocation of resources,” he said.
Afristar said the localisation drive boosted by continuous professional development had seen 1,072 Kenyan employees now capable of independently performing their duties.
Moreover, some 252 Kenyans now work in leadership positions. Of the said number, four Kenyans have so far been appointed into senior management positions led by a Deputy General Manager, Freight Marketing Manager, Deputy Passenger Transport Manger as well as Deputy Manager— Corporate Affairs.  

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

“A total of 29 junior locomotive drivers now work without [close] supervision,” said Afristar in its report.
The firm also said the now Nairobi-Naivasha locomotive is driven by Kenyan drivers only.

SEE ALSO :Chinese TV channel pull live coverage of Arsenal vs Man City over Mesut Ozil comments

Afristar further said some 279 Kenyans now work in the transport department with some 17 of them at the intermediate station.
Moreover, so far there are nine Kenyan train dispatchers and four track inspectors. Another 144 work in the track and signaling department with 17 on board as equipment signal engineers.
The company said 78 Kenyans also serve as locomotive inspectors.  
Other achievements of the company include transporting more than 4.2 million passengers as well as ferrying cargo approximating 750,000 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUS).
Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga lauded the operator for conducting its operations efficiently thereby also enabling the company attain that many days of accident free operations.

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SEE ALSO : Malware broker behind U.S. hacks is now teaching computer skills in China

“It is a great joy for us in the rail transport sector to have attained such a mark. This is because when we developed the Railway Master Plan for Kenya a few years ago… we envisioned a cost effective infrastructure that would play a critical role in the improvement of national competitiveness,” he said.


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