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A Magistrate’s court has acquitted businessman Yagnesh Devani and four others who had been charged with conspiring to defraud Kenya Commercial Bank Sh1.9 billion through Triton Petroleum Company.

Milimani Magistrate Zainab Abdul said the prosecution failed to prove the fraud claims levelled against Yagnesh, Mahindra Pathak, Julius Kilonzo, Collins Otieno and Benedict Mutua, and Triton Petroleum Company.

Devani was the first accused person but did not participate in the proceedings.

The case proceeded in his absentia.

The five had been charged with conspiring to defraud KCB by fraudulently discounting Triton Petroleum of invoices amounting to Sh12 million dollars (Sh1.9 billion) in breach of the limit approved and the conditions imposed by the board of directors of KCB.

The Magistrate in acquitting them said KCB ledgers were never availed as evidence to show that money was debited from the bank’s account.

Most of the witnesses who testified were employees of the bank. The Investigating officer in the case also said he could not pinpoint the specifics of conspiracy with respect to the accused persons.

The Magistrate in her ruling said it is not in dispute that there existed a customer-client relationship between KCB and Triton.

Yagnesh at the time in question was the majority shareholder of Triton Petroleum.

Evidence by the prosecution case is that invoices were discounted in favor of Triton while Yagnesh canceled the same.

The Magistrate said none of the witnesses testified to the effect that at the time the process of invoice discounting was ongoing, Mutua knew the process was canceled.

“Even if money was stolen, the remedy for recovering the same is elsewhere and not through a criminal trial. This is so because the money was credited to a customer’s account as a result of a business relationship,” the Magistrate said.

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