Ex-Chase Bank chair Mohammed Zafrullah Khan arraigned in court

Ex-Chase Bank Chair Mohammed Zafrullah Khan was today arraigned in court over conspiracy to defraud chase Bank Limited over Sh1.6 billion.

Khan pleaded not guilty to all the five criminal counts pressed against him. He answered to the charges after senior principal magistrate Martha Mutuku dismissed his application to have the plea deferred to another day to allow him travel abroad for medication.

The prosecution objected to Khan’s release on bail saying that he's a flight risk adding that he's still being investigated of over the loss of 10 billion shillings, money belonging to depositors.

Lawyer Cecil Miller however objected to further detention of his client saying that Khan is entitled to bail and remains innocent until proven guilty. Court will deliver the ruling on whether he will be released on bail tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile he will remain in police custody at Kileleshwa police station.

Earlier, lawyer Cecil Miller wanted the plea to be postponed on grounds that the DPP acted irrational after the accused obtained orders from the High Court yesterday allowing his passport to be released to him so he could leave for the US to seek medical treatment for 30 days.

“If charges are prematurely referred to my client then chances of him entering America will be zero,” argued Miller. Cecil Miller told Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku that there is mischief in the manner in which Khan was arrested and is now set to be charged.

Miller submitted that due process has not been followed by the prosecution adding that Khan has not been served with all the exhibits to be used in the case. He demanded that the prosecution provide the defense with KPMG report, signed Deloitte audit report, Management report from Deloitte and CBK inspection.

“This plea must be deferred, the plea is premature and is aimed at preventing my client from seeking emergency health care," argued Miller.

It is Miller argument that Khan has never written any statement in regard to the charges being preferred. However the prosecution opposed to the application saying that the accused wants to escape prosecution.

State counsel Mungai Waroi said that if the plea is postponed to another date then they are not sure whether Khan will come back to answer to the charges or not. The DPP submitted that nothing has been submitted before the court to warrant the plea to be deferred to another date.

Waroi said that the DPP has the right to prefer charges and Khan cannot dictate on when he will answer to the charges. Waroi said that he reads mischief on the accused side because he went to the court after the DPP had written letter to CID recommending his prosecution "When the DPP wrote to CID, the accused rushed to the high court seeking to go to USA for medical treatment. That is where his family resides and he owns vast estates there. It is clear indication of someone who wants to run away,” said Waroi

According to the charge sheet presented before the court it is alleged that between 28th of August 2009, and March 31st 2016 at Chase Bank Headquarters in Nairobi with intent to defraud Chase Bank Limited by means of falsely pretending that the disbursement of over Sh1.6 billion Khan and six others, they effected from Internal account of Chase bank to the accounts of Camelia Investment Limited, Cleopartra Holdings Limited, Golden Azure Limited and Colnbrook Holdings Limited were genuine Loan facilities to the entities and were disbursed in the ordinary course of Loan process Flow.

The bank was placed under receivership for 12 months after experiencing liquidity difficulties leading to a loss of Sh686 million for the financial year 2015.

This article was published by THE STANDARD on June 28, 2017