Embattled city preacher Kanyari fights to unfreeze bank account

Embattled city preacher who was uncovered in an exposé three years ago for conducting fake miracles, may have had a sad holiday after his attempts to lift an order freezing his bank account was set for a hearing on Thursday instead of two days before Christmas, when he moved to court.

In a case filed on December 22, Mr Victor Kanyari has sued the CID Headquarters and a Milimani Magistrate Court.

Through lawyer Mwang’ombe Mwakio, the controversial pastor claims that an investigating officer with the CID obtained the freeze order on November 21.

He argues that no evidence was furnished before the Magistrate Court confirming that his account at Cooperative bank, River road branch is being used for purposes of laundering proceeds of crime.

Even though investigating officer Boaz Ogaga had moved to court on November 21 and obtained the freeze order, he had explained that police intended to have the pastor charged with money laundering or obtaining money by false pretense.

The police had embarked on investigations following complaints from members of the public that the Pastor was involved with fake miracles and therefore they sought to establish whether his fixed deposit account was being used for keeping criminal proceeds of money laundering.

“The High Court has a duty and power to assess objectively evidence presented in the lower court at the time the freeze order was issued and determine whether there were reasonable grounds to do so,” Mr Mwakio said.

The pastor is a Form two drop out who runs a very successful business and is living his life, but came into the spotlight after a local Television Station aired an investigative piece showing how he creates miracles using potassium permanganate.

In the expose aired on KTN, the man of the cloth was seen coaching some of his congregants to give testimonies of how they were healed after he prayed for them and he appeared to be falsifying phone calls on a radio programme recorded from his house.

The 2013 expose also showed him asking his audience to send him Sh310, which he referred to as ‘seed money’, so that they could receive prayers, miracles and healing.

When the investigating officer sought the freezing order, he had also asked the magistrate court to compel the bank to furnish him with certain key documents relating to Mr Kanyari’s account so that the investigations could be properly conducted.

The Key documents included the account’s opening one as well as the one for cash transfer between January 1, 2012 to October 31, 2016 and a bank statement for that period.

Investigating officer Ogaga had also asked the magistrate court to have him record statements from the said bank’s manager or any relevant official saying that the information would be vital in investigations being undertaken.

And the magistrate court had allowed the request, issued the freeze order as well as ordered the bank’s managers to cooperate with the investigating officer with regards to the documents asked for.

But according to Mr Kanyari, there were no facts placed before the lower court which objectively concluded that indeed there were criminal activities in relation to his account that warranted the freeze order.

He argues that it has not been established whether he has committed any offense or intends to do so hence there was no reason to merely suspect him.

He also faults CID for not establishing how the disposal of the money held in his account will prejudice the trial if an offense is indeed established and insists that a statement of account alone could be sufficiently used as evidence.

“The allegations do not point to any wrong doing by the pastor, they were merely allegations from members of the public whose names were not mentioned,” Mr Mwakio said.

The controversial preacher now wants the case to be certified urgent, court to counter check the proceedings in the magistrate court and the freeze order on his account be set aside.

The case will be heard on Thursday before High Court judge Stella Mutuku.

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