PCEA leaders want Sh40m case settled out of court

Friday November 3 2017

Former PCEA Moderator Rev David  Gathanju

Former PCEA Moderator Rev David Gathanju (right) and four former employees of the church in a Kiambu court on October 18, 2017 where they denied stealing close to Sh40 million. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERIC WAINAINA
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The leadership of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) now wants a case in which it has sued ex-moderator David Gathanju and four former employees for allegedly stealing close to Sh40 million settled out of court.

Rev Gathanju, who served between 2009 and 2015, Mr James Muiruri, Ms Esther Wanjiku, Mr Peter Mwangi and Mr Stephen Kamau have denied that between January 2, 2016 and June 30, 2017, they stole Sh39.9 million belonging to the church.

ARBITRATION

The development in the case, which has not only embarrassed the church but is also threatening to split its leadership, was communicated to a Kiambu magistrate by both parties Friday when the case came up for mention.

However, differences over how the negotiations will be conducted played out between the parties in court after lawyers disagreed.

The church, through its lawyer Mr Kimamo Muchiri, told the court that although they had agreed to explore an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, it was for the accused to approach the church for arbitration.

According to Mr Muchiri, the church was not interested in having the accused punished, but it was their responsibility to initiate the talks.

CHURCH

Mr Kimamo said the talks must only take place within the church structures, and should it not happen, then the matter should be handled in court to its logical conclusion.

Retired High Court Judge Robert Mutitu, who is representing Rev Gathanju, however, told the court that although the church had showed willingness towards negotiations, it was placing so many conditions which may frustrate talks.

Mr Mutitu and Mr Silas Gitari, representing Mr Muiruri, also accused the prosecution of failing to provide them with witness statements to prepare their defence should the case proceed. The judge asked the lawyers to encourage and facilitate dialogue to settle the matter.

The matter will be mentioned on November 22.