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Flower firm director and wife charged with stealing over Sh110m

A director of a flower firm was jointly charged with his wife for stealing over Sh110 million and will remain in prison custody until August 1, 2023, when a court will determine whether he will b released on bond or not.

When he was charged on Friday, July 28, Shailesh Kumar Rai, a director of Heritage Flowers Limited, was remanded by Milimani senior principal magistrate Sarah Nanzushi at the Industrial Area remand Prison.

Rai has been charged alongside his wife, Ranjeeta Rai, and two of their employees, Isaac Ikua Kihara and Chris Oyunge Ontita.

Ranjeeta, who did not attend court on Friday as she did not receive a summons, was directed to appear in court on July 31, 2023, to answer money laundering charges.

Rai denied that he stole Euros 368,416.71 (Sh60,678,687) and USD 348,166.94 (Sh49,578,972) the property of Heritage Flowers Limited when he was its director.

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The prosecution alleges that on September 21, 2021, and August 2022, at Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) in Nairobi, he concealed the disposition of monies they knew were proceeds of crime.

The husband and wife were further accused of concealing a transaction of USD 88,495 (Sh12,566,290) at DTB.

Also Rai, Ranjeeta and Kihara face another charge of forging minutes of the operations meeting of the management team dated September 17, 2021, purporting to be genuine.

The four also face another count forging a Commission Agreement at Heritage Flowers Limited Offices located at TRV Parkwest Office.

The seventh count is against Rai and Ranjeeta forged a loan agreement between Rosalia Bloom Limited (lender) and Shailesh Kumar (borrower), purporting it to be a genuine document made and signed on February 22, 2022.

Rai was further accused of forging minutes of a virtual meeting of directors of Rosalia Bloom Ltd on February 19, 2022.

All four face a joint count of forging a Trust Deed between Rosalia Bloom Ltd and Heritage Flowers Limited dated September 26, 2021.

The last count is that Shailesh, Ranjeeta, Ikua, Ontita and Rosalia conspired to defraud Heritage Flower Ltd Sh10,520,919, Euros 368,416.71 (Sh60,678,697) and USD 348,166.94 (Sh49,578,972).

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Applying for the release of the accused on bond, a defence lawyer told Ms Nanzushi that the criminal case is a replica of a civil suit pending at the high court.

“The current case is a mere criminalization of a civil case pending at the Commercial Division of the High Court,” the magistrate heard.

But a state prosecutor said she is unaware of the high court cases.

She did not oppose the release of the suspects on bond.

The prosecutor applied for a warrant of arrest against Ranjeeta and Rosalia Bloom Limited (RBL).

In her ruling Ms Nanzushi declined to order for the arrest of Ranjeeta and RBL but ordered the defence lawyer to produce her in court on July 31, 2023.

“I will not issue a warrant of arrest for Ranjeeta, but I direct her lawyer to produce her in court on Monday, July 31. Meanwhile, the rest of the accused, Shailesh Rai, Kihara and Ontita to be remanded in prison custody to enable me to consider the facts and the law for each of the three before I can deliver a ruling,” Ms Nanzushi ruled.

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