A multi-million shilling dispute over a family business has landed a father and his son in trouble over allegations of defrauding family members.
Shivji Parbat and his son Paresh Parbat had gone to court to stop their prosecution over allegations of stealing millions of shillings from Mistry Jadva Parbat Company Limited, but lost the case.
Justice Edward Muriithi Friday ruled that he cannot stop police from investigating and freezing the accounts of Parbat and his son and that it will be only after investigations that allegations by other family members that the two stole from the construction company will be proved true or false.
Forgery and fraud
“The existence of reasonable grounds to show that the offences of forgery and fraud may have been committed is sufficient to justify an investigation and prosecution. The court cannot therefore stand in the way of due process unless they are proved not guilty,” said the judge.
The case started when a relative, Vinodkumar Varsani, lodged a complaint with police, claiming Shivji and Paresh had stolen from the company and opened secret accounts to siphon the money.
Vinodkumar stated that his father was a shareholder and director in the company before his death, after which his uncle and cousin took advantage to steal.
“As an administrator of his estate, I discovered that the remaining directors had engaged in fraud and criminal acts by short-changing my father. They took his shares and opened three separate accounts to channel the proceeds,” swore Vinodkumar.
But Shivji and Paresh had gone to court to stop police from investigating and charging them, arguing that the allegations were false.
They submitted that the deceased’s son had no authority to make claims of fraud in the company given that he is not a director or a shareholder, and that there were hidden motives behind the investigations to defraud them.
Justice Muriithi however dismissed their claims, saying any person has a right to ask police to investigate an illegality.
“You cannot resist investigations and prosecution on account that the person alleging the fraud has no right to complain. A complaint of alleged criminal offences may be filed by any person, with or without an interest in the matter,” ruled Mureithi.
He ruled that what is required is a reasonable justification for investigations to be undertaken and such justification does not depend on the complainant’s interest.