6 KNH employees charged with stealing Ksh9.3M cancer drugs

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 25 May, 2022 13:39 | 3 mins read
The six KNH employees appearing before Milimani Law Courts magistrate. PHOTO/Nancy Gitonga
The six KNH employees appearing before Milimani Law Courts magistrate. PHOTO/Nancy Gitonga

Six Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) employees attached to the pharmacy section have been charged before Milimani Law Courts with several counts of stealing cancer drugs valued at over Ksh9.3 million.

The employees namely Emily Nyambura Kagochi, Phillip Odhiambo Owino, Mary Mumo Wanjiru, Vyonne Muthoni Mbuthia, Rose Jepkogei Chepkok and Maurice Adongo Onyor appeared before Chief Magistrate Micheni Wendy Kagendo and denied three charges of conspiracy to defraud KNH the drugs worth Ksh 9,350,290.

In count one, the prosecution alleges that on diverse dates between April 5 and May 24, 2022, the six accused persons being employees of KNH attached at Kenyatta Prime Care Centre pharmacy within Nairobi county, jointly with others not before court together committed an offence of felony, namely stealing cancer drugs all valued at Ksh4,675,147.

The court heard that the cancer drugs the suspects stole include five Rituximab100mg, 15 Herceptin, Bevacizunab 400mg, Insulin aspart/ insulin aspart protamine and Tocilizumab.

Further, the accused persons were charged with other counts of stealing more cancer drugs worth Ksh 4,675,143 on the same dates and place.

After denying the charges, the accused persons through lawyers Samson Kinyanjui and Danstan Omari urged the court to release their clients on reasonable bail terms.

"The six accused persons are permanent employees of KNH and such being employees of government they will appear in court as and required for their trial once released on reasonable bail terms," lawyer Kinyanjui stated.

The court was informed that Nyambura, Mumo, Muthoni and Jepkogei have young children who they are breastfeeding and have not had an opportunity to be with their babies since their arrest on Tuesday.

However, Adongo sought lenient bail terms saying he is just a casual labourer at the hospital facility and earns less than Ksh10,000 a month.

At the same time, lawyer Omari questioned the legality of the charge sheet against the accused persons.

He informed the court that the charge sheet is not properly drafted following the landmark ruling delivered by Justice Antony Mrima on Monday.

Omari quoted justice Mrima's decision where he ordered that no court in Kenya as of May 23, 2022, should accept charge sheets drafted by any investigating agency other than the DPP which has a prosecutorial role.

"That prosecution of criminal offences in Kenya must only be undertaken by lawful Prosecutors (being either the Director of Public Prosecutions or such other persons exercising the delegated powers of the DPP under Article 157(9) of the Constitution or the entities conferred with powers of prosecution pursuant to Article 157(12) of the Constitution)," the judge ruled.

However, the prosecution informed the court that the charge sheet before the court was legal as it has a stamp of the Office of the DPP and a signature by the DPP officer in charge of Milimani Law Courts.

Magistrate Kagendo has ordered the two lawyers to file a formal application before the court to determine the question raised regarding the legality of the charge sheet.

"On the face of the charge sheet, there is a stamp by the Kenya police but I'm not going to dwell on whether we can accept it as of now owing to the short duration after the High Court judgement was delivered. I'm going to request that the defence lodges a formal objection to the charges," Magistrate Kagendo ruled.

"Since the accused persons have already taken plea and l have recorded a plea of not guilty. I'm going to give bond terms of Ksh1 million each with one surety of a similar amount or a cash bail of Ksh500,000 with two contact persons, " Kagendo stated.

The case will be mentioned on June 7 for the hearing of the application of the legality of the charges.

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