Hunter Becomes Hunted: A former manager at EcoBank Ltd has sued the lender and the Director of Public Prosecutions demanding more than Ksh200 million for malicious prosecution. Mr Peter Ndegwa, who had been charged together with Roy Gatobu in 2017, is suing the bank and the DPP after the prosecution case collapsed.
Mr Ndegwa had been accused of conspiring to steal Ksh163 million from the bank, and now says their prosecution was made in bad faith and on unfounded claims. Mr Ndegwa says the lender, the DPP and the Inspector General of Police should be made to pay for the suffering he underwent and for loss of earnings. He says the police failed to conduct proper investigations before arraigning them.
The two former managers at EcoBank were charged in 2017 with conspiracy to steal. The charges were that they committed the offence between 26th March, 2015 and 18th September, 2015 at the bank’s headquarters in Nairobi.
Evidence before the trial magistrate was that the duo approved loans using fraudulent invoices to a company identified as Quicktele Ltd. But after hearing evidence from six witnesses, Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku acquitted the duo saying the prosecution failed to prove elements of the offence to the required standards.
The magistrate said there was no evidence that the two former relationship managers met and conspired to steal from the lender. She acquitted them at the no-case to answer stage.
And now Mr Ndegwa says he was falsely prosecuted and that the charges were motivated by malice. “From the foregoing, the plaintiff avers that his prosecution was characterized by malice and bad faith by the defendants and was equally marred by misrepresentations,” he says in the court papers.
He wants to be paid Ksh162 million for loss of earnings, Ksh2 million each year for 17 years and costs he incurred for hiring a lawyer to defend him during the trial. He is also demanding Ksh50 million compensation for stress and mental anguish for the malicious prosecution.
He says they were harassed and humiliated when they were arrested by Banking Fraud Investigation Unit officers. “1st defendant acted unreasonably and was actively and maliciously involved in investigating as well as supporting the prosecution against the plaintiff,” he says in an affidavit.
Mr Ndegwa wants 70% of the compensation to be paid by the bank while the rest to be borne by the government.