What you need to know:
- The DPP wants the magistrate’s court to dismiss a request filed by the tycoon’s two companies, King Woolen Mills and Mohan Meakin Kenya Limited, seeking to terminate the charges involving offences of forgery of documents.
- The alleged offences were committed about 20 years ago, although he was charged in March 2019 with making false documents and giving false information.
- He was accused of making a false notification of change of directors of King Woollen Mills Limited, purporting it to be a genuine document from the directors.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has opposed the withdrawal of criminal charges facing billionaire businessman Mohan Galot, the founder of liquor manufacturer London Distillers.
The DPP wants the magistrate’s court to dismiss a request filed by the tycoon’s two companies, King Woolen Mills and Mohan Meakin Kenya Limited, seeking to terminate the charges involving offences of forgery of documents.
The alleged offences were committed about 20 years ago, although he was charged in March 2019 with making false documents and giving false information.
He was accused of making a false notification of change of directors of King Woollen Mills Limited, purporting it to be a genuine document from the directors.
He allegedly served the Registrar of Companies at Sheria House, Nairobi, with the said fake notice, knowing it was a false document, indicating that his nephews, Pravin Galot and Rajesh Galot, were no longer directors of the firm.
He allegedly committed the offences on January 18, 2002.
In another charge, he was accused of making false 2004 and 2006 annual returns for Mohan Meakin Kenya Limited and King Woolen Ltd respectively, purporting them to be genuine and made by the directors.
In the application for termination of the criminal trial, court papers indicate that Mr Galot is the chairman and the founding director of the two companies.
The papers indicate that the basis of the criminal charges are complaints lodged by Narendra Galot and Pravin Galot, “as purported directors of King Woollen Mills Ltd and Mohan Meakin Kenya Ltd and the said persons are neither directors nor shareholders of King Woollen Mills Ltd”.
The two companies indicated that the question of who are the legitimate directors of King Woollen is a matter that is dependent on the outcome of another case that is ongoing at the High Court.
“The continued trial in the subject matter while the purported complainants are neither the directors of King Woollen Mills Ltd nor Mohan Meakin Kenya Ltd is highly likely to result in an unfair trial and threatens the right to a fair trial as enshrined in Article 50 of the Constitution,” they say.
The application is supported by an affidavit of Mr Jophece Yogo, the company secretary for the two companies.
He said unless the charges are stayed or terminated, Mr Galot stands the risk of an unfair trial.
But the DPP, through prosecutor Willy Momanyi, said a similar request for a stay of proceedings had been declined at the High Court.
The prosecutor stated that accused persons ought to face their accusers, prove their innocence or otherwise, and submit to the consequences of the law should they be found culpable.
Terming the application an abuse of the court process, Mr Momanyi said the Court of Appeal had also dismissed the same request.
“The application is vexatious and a gross abuse of the court process in light of the Court of Appeal and High Court having determined similar issues and directed that the accused persons proceed with the criminal cases.”
He said the criminal case can only be determined after evidence has been presented.
“It is our submission that the determination of the directorship of the companies and the criminal cases can proceed concurrently as provided for in Section 193A of the Criminal Procedure Code. In any event, this court will not be called upon to determine the issue of directorship in this criminal case,” said Mr Momanyi.
On claims that the businessman risks suffering a violation of his right to a fair trial, the DPP said that cannot arise as the trial has not proceeded.
The application awaits determination by the magistrate’s court. The Registrar of Companies is listed as an interested party in the suit.