A pastor accused of taking Sh5 million from the Akasha family with a promise to influence the repatriation of brothers Ibrahim and Baktash from the US have sought to settle the matter out of court.
Pastor Chris Ngweti jointly with others allegedly used President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name to defraud the Akasha family.
The brothers, accused of conspiring to import heroin into the US among other crimes, were both extradited in January 2017. They entered a plea bargain with the US government.
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When the criminal case against Ngweti came up at the Shanzu law courts, the prosecution said it was not ready to proceed.
The court heard that the complainant, Najma Juma Hassan, had indicated that Ngweti had approached her to settle the matter out of court. She is represented by lawyer Kiogora Mugambi.
Najma is wife to Baktash Akasha, who was sentenced to 25 years on August 16 last year. Her brother-in-law, Ibrahim Akasha, was sentenced to 22 years over drug-trafficking charges.
Pastor Ngweti denies both counts of conspiring to commit a crime and conspiring to defraud.
Senior resident magistrate David Odhiambo gave parties time to settle the matter but directed that it proceeds for a fresh hearing if there is no settlement by February 5 next year.
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The DPP had listed Najma, her two children Hayat Bakhtash Akasha and Ayub Bakhtash Akasha, and police sergeant Lumbasi Patrice as witnesses.
Odhiambo had released Ngweti on an Sh2 million bond with surety or a cash bail of Sh1 million after he took a plea.
In her statement, Najma said she opened up to Ngweti, her pastor at a church in Shanzu about seeking help to have the Akasha brothers returned to Kenya.
The pastor then volunteered to link her up with a well-connected person who would help her meet President Uhuru and seek his assistance.
Ngweti allegedly introduced Najma to Stephen Nzioka (Steve), based in Nairobi who after days promised the duo would be released on November 28, 2018, and that they would arrive in Kenya on December 2, 2018.
A series of meetings later, Najma began to give out cash in phases, starting with Sh500,000 allegedly for State House comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua to facilitate a meeting with the President.
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She later gave Sh500,000 to ensure they got the extradition letter after meeting then-Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma.
The family was also given a letter purportedly from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration reference number 15/11/201 from one Abdalla.
The letter claimed that the President had instructed Abdalla to handle the matter.
It was signed by a McRae and copied to President Kenyatta. Abdalla sent the letter to Steve through WhatsApp on November 19, 2018.
The suspect is said to have asked for a further Sh1.5 million, to enable him to get the case out of court.
– The Star/ Maureen Mudi