Former Family Bank bosses now to face criminal charges

Peter Munyiri
Former Family Bank MD Peter Munyiri, who is among seven facing charges. [File, Standard]


Seven former executives at mid-tier lender Family Bank will face criminal charges for money laundering after their efforts to block prosecution failed.

The lender had moved to the Court of Appeal after the High Court declined to intervene on Sh1.6 billion National Youth Services scam that also roped in lawyers and politicians.

On Friday, the second highest court in the land tilted the scales of justice against the former Chief Executive Peter Munyiri, Robert Nyagah (senior branch manager), Josephine Wairi (branch customer service supervisor), Meldon Onyango (relations manager), Raphael Ndunda (head of risk and compliance), Charles Thiongo (platinum manager) and Nancy Njambi (large deposits manager).

Court of Appeal Judges Alnasir Visram, Wanjiru Karanja and Martha Koome noted that although the lender had been punished by the regulator, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) for not reporting suspicious transactions, it does not stop the Director of Public Prosecutions from initiating criminal charges against those he perceived culpable.

The three-judge bench pointed out that the lender could not prove that the whole process was done with malice and out of the legal boundaries. CBK fined the lender Sh1 million. In court, the bank argued that it would be double punishment to fine it and also press charges.

“We find that the judge was spot on. Administrative action does not bar criminal prosecution. The mandate to institute criminal prosecution lies with the Director of Public Prosecution,” the judges found in their verdict read by Justice Roselyn Nambuye.

“We find no merit in the application and it is hereby dismissed.” The court was told that the decision to press charges was unfair as other 27 banks also handled or transacted the NYS funds.

Josephine Kabura

At the centre of the case were unusual transactions that were carried out by NYS chief suspect Josephine Kabura Irungu’s three accounts in the bank.

It is claimed that Sh218 million and another Sh252 million was moved from an account registered under Former Builders  Limited. This amount, according to the prosecution was moved through a separate account held by All Trading Limited.

An extra Sh320 million was also alleged to have been received from NYS coffers and placed in the Reinforced Concrete Technologies Limited account. The battle between the lender and the regulator was that it did not flag and report the transactions.

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