Nairobi pastor, woman jailed for forging marriage certificate
A city preacher and a woman who colluded to forge a marriage certificate in a bid to inherit a tycoon’s multi-billion-shilling estate have been jailed.
Pastor Christopher Mutira of International Pentecostal Holiness Church Africa, based in Nairobi’s Ngara Estate, and Marilyn Mercy Wanjiru were sentenced to serve one and half years in jail if they fail to pay a fine of Sh 200,000 each.
Wanjiru was separately slapped with an extra fine of Sh50,000 for presenting the forged marriage certificate to the Registrar of Marriages for their marriage with Kanwaljit Singh Chadda to be registered as a valid one.
But the court noted the deceased had never married.
Wanjiru had claimed their marriage with Chadda who died intestate had two surviving issues by the time he passed on.
Pastor Mutira and Wanjiru were convicted and sentenced for the offences of forging a marriage certificate and presenting it to the Registrar of Marriages as a genuine marriage certificate.
Mutira and Wanjiru who is a mother of two had in 2018 immediately after the death of the late Kanwalgit Signh Chadda plotted to purport there existed a valid marriage between her (wanjiru) and the deceased before the tycoon died of a heart attack.
The pastor claimed he solemnized the marriage between Wanjiru and Chadda on July 27, 2018, and issued them with marriage certificate number 271140.
It is this marriage certificate that was presented to the Registrar of Marriages at the Attorney General’s chambers on July 27, 2018, purporting to be a genuine legal document recognizing the marriage between the woman fraudster and the deceased businessman.
While sentencing the duo, Milimani resident magistrate Ben Mark Enkubi said the actions by Wanjiru and the pastor are evil and ill-intended to defraud the estate of the late Chadda who died in 2018 of heart attack intestate
“This court condemns the action by the pastor to indulge in criminality instead of fighting it by upholding justice. The act has depicted the men of cloth in bad light as demonstrated in this case that pastor Mutira descended into the arena of crime by signing and issuing a forged marriage certificate to defraud the deceased’s children, “Mr Enkubi said.
The magistrate noted the deceased was a bachelor by the time of his death and wondered “how wanjiru contracted the marriage.”
He said the court will not sit and watch crime being committed in broad daylight and executed in total disregard to the law.
In their mitigation, the pastor and woman pleaded for leniency saying they are remorseful and regret the action.
Wanjiru was assisted by the pastor in her plot to disinherit the children of the deceased properties including a house in Ngara where Chadda lived, a motor vehicle, two plots in Nairobi, a 7.5-acre parcel of land in Shimoni, Kwale County and Treasury bonds held at Absa Bank.
She also eyed listed shares in Britam, Co-op Bank, Diamond Trust Bank Housing Finance Company of Kenya, KCB Bank, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Safaricom, Total Kenya, Old Mutual and Absa, which was worth Sh5 million as of December 2018.
The family of Chadda led by his brother Parminder Singh claim that their kin was not married and never had a girlfriend.
It is said that Wanjiru was pursuing a succession case, pending before the High Court, involving the estate of Mr Chadda and the certificate would strengthen her case.
The woman already petitioned to be granted letters to administer the estate of Chadda but Parminder challenged it and also filed a complaint at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over the forged certificate.
Wanjiru listed her son and daughter aged 28 and 26 years, respectively and her as surviving beneficiaries of the estate and that Chadda died aged 76 without a will.
Parminder had in 2019 asked the court to compel Wanjiru to deposit all the money she allegedly collected from Chadda’s properties in court.
Wanjiru claimed he first met Chadda in 1989 at Parklands when she was 19 years.
They parted ways and later reunited in 1999 and started cohabiting in 2013 until his death.