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MP Musimba wants court to review bond terms in Sh1.1bn Chase Bank theft case

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Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba and his wife Angela Mwende on Tuesday petitioned the High Court to review the bond terms in their Sh1.1 billion Chase Bank theft case.

The couple also pleaded with the court to set aside a magistrate’s orders detaining their passports.

Through lawyer Steve Kimathi, they applied for bond terms similar to those of their co-accused persons.

 Kimathi said there is no cogent data and compelling reason to detain the two’s passports.

He said the two were never a flight risk because they presented themselves in court after seeing on social media that a warrant of arrest was out for them.

 The couple is charged alongside the bank’s former chairman Mohamed Khan, officials Dancun Kabui, James Mwenja, Makrios Agumbi, Luciane Sunter and Ronald Vlasman.

The MP, his wife and their co-accused are facing charges of conspiracy to steal and money laundering.

They are accused of siphoning Sh1,150,125,587 from depositors’ accounts and transferring the same to accounts at Paramount Universal and Kenya Commercial Banks between January 2015 and March 2016.

 In one of the money laundering counts, Musimba and his wife are accused of removing Sh409,682,900 from an account and transferring the money to an account held at the KCB Kipande Branch. 

 They denied the charges before senior resident magistrate Hellen Okwani on September 20. They were released on different bond and bail terms.

The MP’s co-accused were released on a Sh10 million bond each with sureties of like sums and alternative cash bails of Sh2 million each.

Also read: MP Musimba to remain in cells over Sh1bn case

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 But Musimba was required to deposit an additional bond of Sh30 million and two sureties of similar sums for each of his two companies – Porting Access Limited and Itec Limited or an alternative cash bail of Sh5 million for each company.

The MP is opposing the variation of bond terms.

 He told Justice Grace Ngenye that the criminal procedure code is silent on what happens when a corporate is charged with an offence.

 Kimathi argued that a corporate is a separate legal entity regarded as a person separate from its directors and shareholders and with separate liabilities and responsibilities. 

The lawyer said although a company is regarded as such, it can’t apply to be involved in terms of bail, cannot be arrested or sentenced to a jail term and can only be fined.

 Kimathi said the court should have established that Musimba is a representative of the company before taking his plea. 

 The suspects were all directed to deposit their passports with the court. They were told to seek the court’s consent before travelling.

 Kimathi said the order is likely to interfere with Musimba’s work as an MP because he is often required to travel on short notice.

 Musimba is a member of the National Assembly’s Intellectual Property and ICT committees and his wife is a director of Eco Bank.

Kimathi said both are required to travel frequently.

But state counsel Carol Sigei opposed the application by Musimba. She said Musimba was charged as an individual, not as an MP and the court set the bond terms commensurate with the charges he is facing.

Ngenye will rule on the application on November 28.

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