A judge has declined to gag the media from highlighting proceedings in a case linking NIC bank  to embezzlement of millions of shillings  the public lost in mega lottery fraud.

The  bank’s application was strongly opposed by Nyagudi’s lawyer, Eddy Orinda, on grounds that its was  meant to derail the pending application in which it is accused of defrauding Kenyans.
Orinda told Justice  Rachael Ngetich, that the  bank has not shown any prejudice that has been  caused by the media  in reporting the matter.
He said the matter  before  court is of public interest and the media is free  to report and bring out vital information held by the  bank over financial transaction with  Amaya Gaming Group.
The veteran lawyer pointed out that  allowing the  bank’s application will be  unfair since the application  was filed  when  parties were prepared to hear the main suit.

Former Kisumu East Mp Kennedy Nyangudi, a charity Lion’s Heart Self Help Group, sued NIC bank and Amaya Gaming group, and the new request, is yet to delay the case further after the bank sprung up in vain.

Nyagudi and Lion’s Heart has sued Amaya’s to recover over KSh100 million it claims was embezzled by the gaming firm’s officials, David Baazov, Daniel Sebag and Benjamin Ahdoot with the help of NIC.

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Amaya latched  its operations in Kenya in 2010 with the M-Lotto sweepstakes and later introduced the Kwachu 6/48 Lotto.

Lawyer Allen Gichuhi had applied for what he called a “super-injunction” to gaga the media from highlighting the proceedings in the case, a proposal vehemently objected to by lawyers Eddy Orinda and Andrew Ombwayo.

Gichuhi said Nyangudi had resorted to blackmailing the bank and wanted a restraint order against the media from publishing further proceedings.

It appeared to be a side-show as what had been listed for hearing was a separate application the bank had filed against orders compelling it to disclose how the accounts where the money was siphoned out of the country were opened without Nyangudi’s knowledge.

Orinda told the trial court that the new application had been served hours to the scheduled hearing and thus needed time to respond to it.

Illegal activity

“By its very nature the prayer is veiled to stop the plaintiff(Nyangudi) from being heard,” Ombwayo said.

 Amaya’s founder,  Baazov, is also fighting fraud charges  in Canada.

The trial court heard that NIC bank has failed to comply with orders of discovery after illegal activity was unearthed at the financial institution.

 Nyagudi claims  Baazov secretly opened 11  bank accounts at NIC, which were used to  channel money earned from Amaya’s operations out of the country.

“NIC Bank received the funds from the lotteries through deposits, kept the funds safely in their custody and thereafter aided Amaya to disappear from the country by transferring the funds out of the country when their fraudulent conning scheme was discovered having defrauded unsuspecting Kenyans of hundreds of millions of shillings,” court papers read.

NIC, the court heard has declined to obey  a court order issued by Justice Rachael Ngetich, that required it comes clean on the documentation used in opening of the controversial accounts.

Nyagudi holds that only he and  Baazov are listed as directors of Amaya Gaming Group Kenya hence only the two of them had authority to open bank accounts.

“The intent is to obstruct justice…” Orinda said, referring to the successive applications that the bank has riddled  the case with seeking “stay” since October 10 2011.

Sideshow matter

 NIC is faulted for opening Amaya bank accounts without  Nyagudi’s consent.The  former legislator filed the  suit against the bank  in October 2017, claiming that the  financial institution has withheld information over transaction with Amaya Gaming Group where he his a director and subsequently opening  of several  bank accounts with the  company without his knowledge

There are contempt of court proceedings in the offing against the banks executives  for failing to provide more documents related to the disputed accounts.

 Justice Ngetich directed that the sideshow matter be heard on  October 17  2018 before the main suit.