Seven directors of NMK Capital Investments Limited have been charged before a Nairobi court with conspiracy to defraud unsuspecting members of the public over Ksh1 billion in a fake real estate scheme.
Appearing before Milimani Magistrate Ben Mark Enkhubi, the suspects namely Keeru Ngugi Mucheru, Amos Macharia Maina, Joan Gathoni, Fredrick Kariuki Makumi, Gidion Charagu Mwangi, Shiphira Wantui Kanyinti, and Agatha Wanjugu Mwaniki plus NMK Capital Investments Limited, Bidsworth Auto-rent Company, and NMK Estate Developers Limited denied 21 charges of conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money by false pretences from several investors.
In Count One, the accused persons denied that on diverse dates between October 28, 2021, and July 16, 2023, at Nairobi Central Business District within Nairobi County in the Republic of Kenya, jointly with others not before court, being the directors of NMK Capital Investments Limited and NMK Estate Developers Limited jointly conspired to defraud unsuspecting members of the public Ksh45, 558,731.
State prosecutor Virginia Kariuki told the magistrate that 21 investors who had lost money in the scheme were present in court, and that apart from them, others who were not present in court, had recorded statements with the Director of Criminal Investigations ( DCI) with figures, that according to her, bring to over Ksh1 billion the amount the seven have allegedly defrauded the public in the fake development scheme.
The prosecutor, while stating that she is not opposed to the release of the accused persons on bond, urged the court to consider the case as of great public interest as they have defrauded unsuspecting members of the public in excess of Ksh1 billion.
The prosecution told the court that the accused persons duped members of the public into believing that they would earn interest of 15 per cent for their deposit ranging from Ksh1.8 million to Ksh5 million.
One of the suspects, Mucheru, whom police believe is the mastermind of the fraudulent real estate scheme faced numerous charges of obtaining money through pretences.
The court heard that on diverse dates between July 20, 2023, and May 29, 2023, Mucheru obtained Ksh5.06 million from Damaris Muthoni Kamau falsely pretending that he could invest the same in his Bidsworth Auto-rent Company and offering her 15 per cent monthly interest.
He was also charged with defrauding Pius Kinyambu Ksh4.5 million and Paul Msava Mutwii Ksh4.3 million using the same tricks.
Others who were allegedly defrauded in the scheme are Catherine Mwangi, Margaret Muthoni Njoronge, Daniel Kariuki, Vincent Egessah, Samuel Kinyara and Paul Mwangi.
After denying the charges, Kariuki said that Mucheru was a flight risk and should not be released by cash bail.
Virginia (the prosecutor) sought to have him granted bond terms with two sureties of colossal sum and coupled with two senior government contact persons.
The court heard that police have received information that the company is enlisting new investors who may fall victim to the fraudulent scheme.
Accused persons Duncan Okatch and Edward Oonge urged the court to release them on lenient bond terms saying they have been cooperating with DCI detectives since January.
Magistrate Enkhubi eventually ordered Mucheru to be released on Ksh20 million bond with a surety of a similar amount and to avail one government senior officer as a contact person.
He however ordered each of the rest of the accused persons to be released on Ksh600,000 bond with an alternative cash bail of Ksh300,000 with two contact persons to be examined by the court.
The case will be mentioned on October 16, 2023.