Ex-PCEA boss facing charges over alleged sh40 million theft

Former Moderator of the General Assembly of PCEA Rev David Riitho Gathanju []

A split at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (P.C.E.A) is looming following charges of theft leveled on Former Moderator of the General Assembly David Riitho Gathanju.

Rev Gathanju together with four other employees- James Muiruri, Esther Wanjiku, Peter Mwangi and Stephen Kamau  are facing theft charges of sh40 million.

Rev Peter Kania Kariuki is the complainant for the church in the case.

The five face additional charges of conspiring to commit a felony against the church.

Gathanju and three employees appeared before Kiambu Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo on Monday.

Muiruri did not attend the session as he was reported to be unwell and is expected to take a plea on Monday, cites Daily Nation.

The five according to the charge sheet, are said to have defrauded sh39.9 million on diverse dates between January 2, 2016 and June 30, 2017, at the church head office in South C, Nairobi.

Prosecution argued the money belonged to the church and they only got to handle it because they were employees of P.C.E.A.

Retired High Court Judge Robert Mutitu is representing Rev Gathanju while lawyer Danstan Omari is representing the other four employees.

The two lawyers have pleaded with the court to defer the case and give way to internal arbitration by the church.

They cited the continuity of the case in court will sharply split the church.

An ad-hoc committee of the church has been investigating the matter since May according to Mutitu.

Atambo is expected to give a determination on the defendants plea as well as pronounce herself on their bail application.

Rev Gathanju served as the moderator for the church between 2009 and 2015.