Justice Mwilu’s loan dealings with Imperial Bank, alongside eight land titles that were charged as collateral to secure the multi-million shilling advances, are at the heart of criminal charges that the Director of Criminal Prosecutions (DPP) has levelled against Kenya’s second senior-most judge.
The judge is facing 13 counts of abuse of office, tax evasion and fraudulent recovery of loan securities.
Investigators at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have accused the Deputy CJ of using her position to illegally obtain Sh12 million from Imperial Bank between August and October 2013. In her defence, however, the Supreme Court judge says that Imperial Bank extended her the Sh12 million as an unsecured loan, which she has since repaid in full.
“The sum referred to in count two of the intended charge was an unsecured loan advanced to Justice Mwilu by the bank and credited to her account,” Justice Mwilu says in her petition seeking to stop the DPP’s criminal prosecution.
High Court judge Chacha Mwita has suspended the Deputy CJ’s prosecution until October 9, when he will hear the matter. Justice Mwilu has sued the DPP, Noordin Haji, DCI boss George Kinoti, the Chief Magistrate’s Court and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki.
In total the court papers show Justice Mwilu borrowed from Imperial Bank a short-term loan of Sh60 million, a Sh59.3 million long-term loan and the claimed Sh12 million unsecured loan. Remarkably, the affidavit and documents she has filed as evidence show that the Sh60 million loan was advanced to her one year before she bought the land used as collateral and before it was transferred to her.
Justice Mwilu’s affidavit and the attached documents indicate that Imperial Bank advanced her the loan on December 2, 2013. She says that she bought the land on December 18, 2014, which is a year after the same property was used to secure her borrowing.
The Sh59.3 million loan was secured by charging five parcels of land registered as 1265, 1273, 1274, 1275 and 1276 at the Ministry of Lands. Ownership documents for the five pieces of land are still in Imperial Bank’s custody.
On December 2, 2013, while still a Court of Appeal judge, Justice Mwilu used two pieces of land in Nairobi (reference numbers 3734/202 and 3734/209) as security for a Sh60 million loan.
One month after Imperial Bank was placed under receivership, she wrote to the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), through lawyer Stanley Muluvi, seeking a substitution of the loan security.
DCI investigators and DPP Haji believe that Justice Mwilu may have induced KDIC CEO Mohamud Mohamud to illegally release the two parcels of land to her. The judge asked the KDIC to release the two pieces of land to her in place of a half-acre property registered as 3734/1129. The KDIC, however, asked her to clear the Sh60 million loan, which had attracted Sh2.8 million in interest and the unsecured borrowing. The unsecured loan balance was then Sh2 million. The Imperial Bank receiver-manager also asked her to make partial payment on the long-term loan.
Justice Mwilu’s lawyer, Mr Muluvi, notified Imperial Bank’s receiver-manager of a Sh65 million payment on January 1, 2016, which was to honour the KDIC’s demand.
In January 2016, the KDIC wrote to Mr Muluvi acknowledging the payment and asking him to furnish it with the original title deed for the land that was to be used as a substitute. Documents Justice Mwilu has filed in court do not indicate whether she deposited the title deed.
The affidavits state that she is still repaying the long-term loan whose balance currently stands at Sh43 million. “On January 1, 2016 Mr Muluvi notified the bank of Justice Mwilu’s payment of Sh65 million in the bank’s account and required the bank’s release of the original titles for properties land reference numbers 3734/202 and 3734/209 together with duly executed discharge of charge,” the judge adds in her affidavit.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.