Man charged with conning financial consultant of Sh12.5m in fake tenders deal
A trader, who allegedly obtained Sh12.5million from a US-based financial consultant claiming he had won tenders to renovate the Kenya Revenue Authority offices (KRA) at Times Towers and to supply the Supreme Court with files, has been charged with fraud.
Douglas Juma Onduso was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo at the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, and charged with defrauding Mr Michael Maeri of the said amount of cash.
Onduso allegedly obtained Sh12,548,646 from Mr Maeri who is represented in the case by lawyer Joan Mutile. According to Ms Mutile, Mr Maeri wired the money to the accused through Western Money Union, M-Pesa and through an account of his brother at the Equity Bank Limited to undertake the works.
Defence lawyer Bernard Atancha pleaded with Ms Kagendo to free the suspect on bond saying he is not a flight risk and that he will abide with the terms that will be imposed by the court.
“The accused herein has a young family that solely depends on him. I urge this court to grant him reasonable bond terms. He cooperated with investigators during the probe ahead of today’s arraignment,” Mr Atancha submitted to the court.
He said the accused has undertaken not to interfere with prosecution witnesses or prejudice justice in any way. The defence lawyer further said the accused has investments in Kenya and cannot flee to abandon them.
Mr Atancha asked the court to consider Article 50 of the Constitution which requires courts to free suspects on bond to enable them attend trial.
“I urge this court not to issue punitive bail terms which the accused may not meet thus amounting to a pre-trial sentence,” Mr Atancha prayed.
State prosecutor Anderson Gikunda did not oppose the bail application. Ms Mutile asked the court to consider the amount lost by Mr Maeri in the alleged fraudulent scheme.
In her brief ruling, the magistrate grant Onduso a bond of Sh3million with no alternative orders to a cash bail. She directed Mr Gikunda to supply the accused with witness statements to prepare his defence.
Ms Kagendo also directed the accused to appear in court on January 23, 2023 for pre-trial directions.
The Director of Public Prosecutions filed charges against Onduso that on diverse dates between September 19 and December 23, 2021, with intent to defraud, obtained Sh6,504,252 from Mr Maeri, claiming he had won a tender from KRA to renovate its offices at the 3rd and 31st floors at Times Towers in Nairobi.
He was also accused of receiving Sh1,354,252 within the same period alleging that he had won another tender to supply files to the Supreme Court.
In the third count he is accused of obtaining Sh3,690,000 from Mr Maeri alleging he had landed a tender to supply water tanks to KMTC.
Onduso allegedly forged and altered Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) from the three government departments which he sent Mr Maeri to convince him to release the funds to finance the projects.