Atwoli's signature was 'forged' in KES 115M fraud case
15 April 2014, 14:40
Nairobi - COTU
Secretary General Francis Atwoli yesterday said that an “alien account” in the
name of helping HIV/AIDS victims and pregnant mothers was used to defraud the
workers body KES 115 million.
Atwoli was testifying in a case where its former Treasurer General Mr Cornel
Ogutu and the HIV/AIDS program coordinator Ms Millicent Ngeso have been accused
of defrauding the union KES 115 million.
two accused were employees of COTU and they initiated a plan allegedly meant to
help members who were affected by HIV/AIDS and pregnant mothers but turned to
be the ones benefiting from the money allocated to fund the project,” Mr Atwoli
added that the two, Mr Ogutu and Ms Ngeso were given the full support by the
union to commence the project but instead opened a parallel account alongside
the main one where they were siphoning cash directed to run the main account.
account was illegal because it was not authorized or introduced to members of
the board and was operational since 2002. We never knew of its existence,”
Mr Atwoli said.
to Atwoli, the former treasurer general opened two bank
accounts one at Barclays Bank of Kenya, Queensway branch in Nairobi and another
at Kenya Commercial bank with similar preferences.
only accented to the one at KCB but the other one at Barclays was hidden
knowledge from the board. The accounts that finance various projects are only
run by KCB not any other bank.
said that Mr Ogutu was given a warning letter by the Chairman General of Cotu
urging him to refrain from getting involved in dubious money deals which would
defeat the mandate of his office but conceitedly continued to involve himself.
never come to the office… you are literary signing cheques from this
organization in the streets,” Mr Atwoli read the letter from the board.
allegations of fraud were raised against the former treasurer general of Cotu,
the board took initiative by a letter dated April 2 2013 summoning Mr Ogutu to
explain the genesis of the various malpractices but “he defiantly declined to
appear before the board.”
Atwoli alleged that Mr Ogutu continued to use the name of the late chairman Mr
Rajab Mwondi as a signatory to the account till 2013 when he was arrested.
forged my signature and the late chairman Mr Mwondi’s signature as signatories
to the account. He was withdrawing money in our names,” Cotu secretary general
added that Mr Mwondi died in 2003 but according to various cheques produced as
exhibits in court “Mr Mwondi was still authorizing the withdrawals even in
Cotu secretary general said that the time the cheques were banked in Nairobi he
was in Geneva Switzerland conducting business on behalf of trade unions.
Ngeso was a signatory to the account as she was the overall coordinator of the
account. She too received cheques from the Barclays bank account,” Mr Atwoli
to Atwoli, Ms Ngeso automatically became a signatory to the HIV/AIDS and child
labour account by the virtue that she was the head of the project mandated to
oversee all the operations relating to the welfare of the project.
knew the existence of such an account but never uttered a word about it,” he
two Mr Ogutu and Ms Ngeso, were arrested on June 13 and August 7 2013
respectively after Cotu put their pictures, IDs and names in the local dailies
and requested for any persons with information that could lead to their
apprehension be availed.
case continues on April 23 for the defence cross-examination of Mr Atwoli.
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