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I was acquitted and my business is clean, says Deborah

A Nairobi-based entrepreneur who was recently trolled on social media for a theft case against her in 2008 was found not guilty by the court.

Ms Deborah Mbula had been accused of stealing Sh35.3 million from her employer, Total Kenya Ltd.

The charge sheet stated that she had conspired to steal 119,000 litres of diesel, 19,000 litres of petrol and 372,000 litres of kerosene all valued at Sh35,297,384.05.

But a ruling on the case No. 1639 of 2008 by Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei on February 21, 2012, acquitted Ms Mbula of all the charges.


“In this case, I find that the accused has put up a defense sufficient to create a doubt on the prosecution’s case. I give the accused the benefit of this doubt. I consequently find her NOT GUILTY and acquit her of all counts,” concluded Mr Mutembei.

The case filed by Total Kenya was initiated after an internal auditor noted that transactions from a client had been reversed.

Witnesses from both sides gave their evidence and the magistrate noted that the testimony of a cashier at the oil firm had corroborated Ms Mbula’s account.

City entrepreneur Ms Deborah Mbula. FILE PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS
City entrepreneur Ms Deborah Mbula. FILE PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS

The accused had maintained that cashiers at Total Kenya had no system rights to reverse transactions and whenever they made an error in their entries, they had to alert an accountant to have the transactions reversed.

Ms Mbula, who was working as a cashier for Total Kenya, resigned in August 2008 to start a taxi business from savings she had made since 1996 when she was employed.

“Total had taken me to court without investigating the matter. So when investigations were done, it was found out that I was not guilty and I was acquitted,” she said.


When she was featured by Daily Nation on Thursday among entrepreneurs who have been successful, some bloggers fished out a copy of a story on the court proceedings to poke holes into her success.

The newspaper, in a clarification, regretted not including the aspect of the prosecution in the story on Ms Mbula’s success but maintained she was not guilty of the offence.

“Readers may wish to be advised that one does not become a thief or fraudster merely on being charged in court, but upon conviction and that in Kenyan law, you are innocent until the court pronounces you guilty,” read an editor’s note.

Ms Mbula said the trolls on social media were unfair and driven by malice.

“The fact that I was a suspect then doesn’t mean I built my business with the stolen money. people need to confirm rulings of court cases before trolling others on social media,” she added.

She intends to find the intent of whoever started the trolls and seek legal advice from her lawyer on whether to press charges.