Former Cotu employee denies Sh115m theft charge

A former employee of Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Wednesday took to the stand to defend herself against accusations that she stole money from the union.

Ms Millicent Ogila told the court that she joined Cotu in October 2002, long after the cited bank account was opened.

The employee, who worked as a programmes coordinator, said the resolution to open the account was passed by the board in July 2002.

She is accused of forging secretary-general Francis Atwoli’s signature and minutes of meetings to open an account at Barclays Bank, Queensway Branch, Nairobi.

SIPHON
It is alleged that she used the account to siphon the union’s money, together with former treasurer Cornel Nyagun.

But Ms Ogila told Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko that the decision to open the account was passed long before she joined the organisation.

Among the donors who funded the programmes was the National Aids Control Council.

She said the account was opened after the donor requested a different account that would be used for programmes such as sensitisation on HIV and Aids.

SPENT MONEY

She said she spent the money on trainings, sensitisation at work places and sensitising women on mother-to-child transmission.

Ms Ogila said she spent four months at Del Monte firm in Thika, where it was reported that every week at least two people succumbed to Aids-related diseases.

She said the firm was under the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union, an affiliate of Cotu.

She added that NACC dispatched Sh6 million to the account in three tranches. Ms Ogila said she was accompanied to Del Monte by former Kabete MP and unionist George Muchai (deceased).
Ms Ogila and Mr Nyangun were charged in August 2013 with seven counts of forgery and stealing of over Sh115 million from Cotu accounts.

They are alleged to have opened a fake account under Cotu’s name, which they operated between November 21, 2002, and March 27, 2013.

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