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Nairobi court hands temporary freedom to two women in 162 million fraud case

Two officials of a city women group charged with defrauding investors over Sh162million in a police housing racket have been freed on a Sh5million bond.

Mary Ndunge Mutuku and Mary Wanjiru Ndung’u who have been in custody for four days were freed by Milimani law courts chief magistrate Wendy Kagendo.

Ndunge and Wanjiku were each granted a bond of Sh5million with alternative cash bail of Sh3million.

Kagendo declined a police request to detain the two for 14 more days to enable them conclude investigations.

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Ms Kagendo ruled that the suspects should not interfere with investigations.

“Bond is a constitutional right for any suspect arraigned in court. I note the amount involved in this case is colossal but that should not bar the suspects from access their constitutional rights to bond,” ruled Ms Kagendo.

She concurred with defence lawyer Geoffrey Omenke and Robert Aswani that police can continue to investigate the scandal while the accused are out on bond provided they are properly cautioned and warned.

The investigating officer Chief Inspector Eunice Njue had sought to detain Ndunge and Wanjiru for a further 14days saying they were a flight risk.

Insp. Njue suggested the suspects will flee jurisdiction once freed on bond.

The court also heard that Ndunge uses phones registered using stolen national identity cards and has several M-Pesa accounts fraudulently registered.

Ms Njue who is attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, (DCI) is leading other investigators detailed to carry out an in-depth probe into the fraud that involves over Sh300million.

The court heard that Njue is yet to record statements from over 20 new complainants who have lodged complaints at Central Police Station.

She said she will go through a raft of documents in respect of over 20 bank accounts and Mpesa transactions.

“The state will use a lot of resources tracking down these two if they will abscond. Detain them for a further 14 days to enable me complete investigations,”Insp Njue.

The DCI crime buster told Ms Kagendo she smoked the two out of their hideouts after intense search.

Opposing their release on bond state prosecutor Anderson Gikunda said a host of complainants who had thronged the court had not yet recorded statements.

Ms Kagendo allowed the defence bond application after a spirited legal engagement with the prosecution.

Ndunge and Wanjiru denied defrauding a Michael Kariuki Wanjohi and his sister Salome Wanjiku Sh87,742,000 pretending they were in a position to sell them houses at the West Park Police Estate, Nairobi between 2015 and 2022.

Ndunge and Wanjiru face 15 other counts of obtaining money through pretenses and forging a letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection regarding the ownership of the estate by the women group.

A total of Sh162,152,000 was reportedly obtained from various people.