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Reprieve for woman in 'plot to murder husband for insurance money'

Wednesday August 14 2019

Insurance fraud suspects

Emmah Wangari Wangui and Peter Mwaniki Wanjiku at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on August 13, 2019, when they were charged over a plot to kill one Evans Karanja Mwangi and making claims from three insurance companies. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RICHARD MUNGUTI
By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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A woman who allegedly planned to kill her estranged husband them claim compensation from three insurance firms was reprieved on Tuesday by a court's decision to prohibit the DPP from initiating her trial.

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku barred the Director of Public Prosecution from starting the case against Ms Emmah Wangari Wangui after she was served with orders by justices Jessie Lesiit (Nairobi) and Christine Meoli (Kiambu).

Ms Mutuku suspended the trial until August 27 to give State prosecutor Anderson Gikunda time to verify the High Court orders that were issued in May.

THE CHARGES

The court heard that police had been pursuing Ms Wangui on allegations that she attempted to kill one Mr Evans Karanja Mwangi. The two lived together for a while and later got separated.

Mr Gikunda presented the criminal charges against Ms Wangui and one Mr Peter Mwaniki Wanjiku.

Following a complaint by Mr Mwangi, the two were jointly charged with forging his national identity card and presenting it to officers at the three insurance companies in order to benefit from his accident insurance cover.

The three companies are ICEA Life Assurance, APA Insurance Limited and Britam.

The second charge states that Mr Mwaniki uttered the forged ID to ICEA's tied life agent Judith Atieno Odhengo in Thika Town on June 13, 2018, with the intention of fraudulently acquiring the personal accident insurance claim.

He is also charged with presenting the same ID to APA's business team leader Gibson Okola Etindi at their office at Apollo Centre in Westlands, Nairobi, on June 14, 2018 with the same intention.

The prosecutor further stated that on June 18 that year, he presented the same document to Britam's financial adviser Evalyn Njiru at its office in Thika town.

DEFENCE

In his arguments, the defence lawyer accused the complainant of forum-shopping for the arrest of the accused by officers from Kiambu and Thika police stations.

The suspects were arrested last Thursday after a report was filed at Capital Hill in Kilimani, Nairobi.

The lawyer told the court that the respondents in the case had been served with the orders against Ms Wangui's prosecution.

The respondents are the Inspector-General of Police (IG), the DPP,  the Director of Criminal Investigations, the office of the Thika DCI and one Mr Evan Karanja Mwangi.

The lawyer also noted that thehearing of the case against Ms Wangui's trial had been set for October 7 at the High Court in Kiambu.

In her ruling, the magistrate said, “So that this court is not accused of disobeying the High Court orders, Ms Wangui will not be called upon to plead but Mr Mwaniki will answer the charges.

“I will recuse Ms Wangui from plea-taking until August 27 to enable the prosecutor secure the two High Court orders and report back in two weeks."

BOND

Magistrate Mutuku released Ms Wangui on Sh500,000 bond.

Mr Mwaniki denied seven charges including forging Mr Mwangi's ID at an unknown location and impersonating him before the officers of the three insurance firms.

He was released on a bond of Sh500,000 or a cash bail of Sh200,000.

The court will give further directions when the parties return to court on August 27.