Ex-EABL director asks court to halt Sh240m theft case

A former procurement director at East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) accused of stealing Sh240 million from the beermaker has asked the High Court to quash the criminal case against him, saying his former employer initiated it out of malice.

Aristide Brilliant Nkoumondo, who has been accused of stealing the money using a shell company, says the issues raised in the criminal case are the same as those argued by EABL in a civil suit that was dismissed last month.

Justice Joseph Sergon last month ruled that EABL should have sued the firm Mr Nkoumondo is alleged to have used to sell refrigerators valued at Sh240 million.

The accused is facing four counts of theft by servant before the Chief Magistrate’s Court, which carries a prison term of up to seven years if found guilty.

“The issues and allegations in the criminal case are the same ones raised in the civil case, which has been dismissed by the High Court for lacking cause of action. The respondents and EABL are using the criminal case to antagonise Mr Nkoumondo and demonstrate influence and muscle,” says the Cameroonian in the suit against the Chief Magistrate’s Court and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

READ: EABL loses Sh240m claim against former top manager

EABL says the former employee used a fake Seychelles-registered company called RBS East Africa to open an account at Chase Bank from which he allegedly received payments for refrigerators from one of EABL’s suppliers – Frigorex.

It adds that Mr Nkoumondo named the firm RBS to trick Frigorex into believing that the account belonged to the Royal Bank of Scotland, which the brewer uses for such deals.

The Cameroonian denies selling the refrigerators arguing that he had no authority to sell any EABL property.

“Mr Nkoumondo is a separate and distinct legal entity from RBS East Africa Limited. I have never offered for sale nor sold refrigerators belonging to EABL. The refrigerators owned by EABL and alleged to have been sold by me are still owned by EABL and are still in EABL’s possession,” Mr Nkoumondo insists.

The brewer says Mr Nkoumondo struck a deal behind its back that saw Frigorex buy 2,500 refrigerators from it then lease them back to EABL. He, however, directed Frigorex to pay the agreed price to the RBS account.

Mr Nkoumondo has attached in the petition a demand letter from EABL in which he says his former employer threatened to pursue him at whatever cost.