I accompanied Atwoli to open the alleged fraudulent account where AIDS awareness money was embezzled, COTU ex treasure Gen tells court

File photo: COTU EX treasurer Gen before a Nairobi court

Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) ex-treasurer general charged with stealing 115 million from the organization’s accounts has denied allegations by COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli that he never knew the existence of the alleged fraudulent account in which AIDS awareness money was wired.

While defending himself in court, Cornel Ogutu Nyagun said that COTU leadership knew the existence of the bank account since it was himself, his co-accused and Atwoli who went to open the said account at Barclays Bank Queens way branch.

“I received a phone call from Atwoli on November 6th 2002 and he told me to accompany him and the 2nd accused Millicent Ngeso Ogila to the bank to open the account,” Nyangun told court.

Atwoli carried all the documents

Nyangun further told the court that Atwoli was carrying a brown leather suitcase which had some papers and he handed them to the officers at the bank.

“Atwoli was the one who carried all the documents and we only carried our national identity cards as we were to be signatories,” Nyangun added.

He said that his co accused Millicent Nguso Ogila who wrote the project proposal was the one who was going to run the project and was therefore a signatory too hence the need to accompany them to the bank.

The accused added that part of the money that he withdrew from another COTU account at KCB bank was ordered by the secretary general to cater for some visitors he was coming with from Geneva and not for his personal benefit.

COTU Sec Gen Francis Atwoli in court

Nyangun said that Atwoli used to send him to withdraw money, he never went to the bank personally.

Atwoli who testified in the case as said that he never signed the cheques and was not in the county during that time.

Former COTU Chair Peter Muthee’s signatures

He further said that the reason why the signature of late organization chairman Peter Muthee was used in the cheques he was using to withdraw the money is because the union kept some current account transfer debit cheques which were pre-signed to be used incase one of the signatories was absent.

Nyangun told the court he did not understand why Atwoli denied ever signing the cheques because one of the signatures in the said cheques was his.

“Some pre-signed cheques were signed by me, the secretary general Francis Atwoli and COTU chairman Rajab Mwondi,” he added.

He further testified that on April 3rd 2003, 200,000 shillings was withdrawn from the account and on that material day he was at home already suspended from work.

Nyangun and Ogila are alleged to have withdrawn the money meant for National AIDS Control Counsel for their personal benefits.

Oguto further denied forging and uttering false documents for the union saying that the documents used to withdraw money were legal documents.

Nyangun and Ogila were charged in August 2013 and denied the charges. They are out on a 30 million surety bond.

The hearing will continue on November 27th 2017.