Efforts by three former senior employees of Mumias Sugar Company to stop government investigative agencies from digging into their bank accounts for details have proven futile. The three individuals, Peter Hongo, Paul Murgor and Ms Pamela Lutta filed a lawsuit in 2017 to halt the DCI, EACC and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) from investigating their bank accounts in connection to the alleged fraudulent sale of sugar.
Although they denied allegations on grounds that they were no longer employees of the struggling sugar miller, investigators and authorities had earlier suspected that the sugar sales revenues were being deposited into their bank accounts.
These allegations proved a huge blow to them after Justice Hedwig Ong’udi determined that there was a legitimate basis for suspicion when investigators were granted warrants to probe their bank accounts. The warrants, contrary to what the trio claimed, were legally obtained, according to the judge.
“Just as was the case with the other allegations of constitutional violations, the petitioners have failed to prove how their dignity was interfered with by the respondents, who were simply carrying out their mandate in a dignified manner,” the judge said.
According to the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), the request to probe their accounts was not at all an act of invasion of privacy. Their accounts might have been used to commit illegal acts related to the Mumias Sugar Company.
The Capital Markets Authority had established that the three senior employees had provided excessive discounts through credit notes to selected customers amounting to Ksh. 3.1 billion between 2009 and 2012 thus informing the probe.
According to the judge, the former senior employees moved to court prematurely. “I say so because as stated by the CMA, the investigations being done were inquisitorial, and it is only after the petitioners have received the notice to show cause that they would be granted an opportunity to be heard,” ruled justice Ong’udi.