- Man seeks property title.
- Lawyer says they are negotiating to have fraud charges against two senior officials dropped.
Ecobank has opted to talk with the owner of a multimillion-shilling property in Nairobi to save its senior managers from criminal prosecution.
The bank’s lawyers told a Nairobi court that they are negotiating with Mr Mohammed Madhubuti to settle the dispute out of court and have fraud charges against the bank’s managing director in Uganda, Michael Monari, and senior group officer in Togo Wilfred Oroko dropped.
“Parties have agreed that the matter be settled out of court and that the bank will return the property title to the owner. We are asking for more time to finalise the talks and file the agreed settlement,” the lawyers told senior principal magistrate Elena Nderitu.
Mr Madhubuti, through his lawyer, confirmed the talks were under way, adding that if successful they will see him drop his complaints against the bank’s attempt to dispossess him of the property valued at more than Sh100 million.
The magistrate gave them one month to complete the talks and return the property to the owner, failure to which the criminal trial against the two managers would proceed.
Mr Monari and Mr Oroko were charged with wilfully procuring the registration of a replacement charge on a land title without the consent of the owner, Abubakar Mohamed Habib, who has died.
DEMANDING LOAN ARREAS
Mr Habib allegedly borrowed Sh7.5 million from Ecobank, which he repaid fully before he died, according to his son Madhubuti, the complainant.
The bank, however, continued demanding loan arrears and interest that reached Sh105 million, and on December 15, 2008, it sold the property for Sh60 million to Mr John Gakonye Ngururi.
Mr Monari is a former Ecobank-Kenya chief executive while Mr Oroko was the bank’s secretary before he was seconded to serve in Togo.
They allegedly committed the offence on December 31, 2008 at Ministry of Lands offices in Nairobi.
Mr Madhubuti had testified that he wrote to the bank requesting to be given information on his father’s outstanding loan balance but never got a response, only to learn later that their property was being auctioned.
He said the signatures and initials allegedly signed by his father authorising the transfer were forged since at the time the transfer was being effected, his father had already died.
“My father passed on in 2007 and it is like my father resurrected, signed the transfer documents and returned to his grave,” he said.
The matter will be mentioned on May 11.