Missing Nyama Mama restaurant owner finally appears in court

nyama mama Nina Shanghavi Jayesh

Nyama Mama restaurant director Nina Jayesh Shanghavi (left) at a Nairobi court on December 21, 2021. She is facing charges together with her spouse Jayesh Umedlal Shanghavi (right). 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

A hotelier who had been on the run amid a Sh520 million bank loan fraud case will remain in custody until today (Wednesday) when a court will decide whether to free her on bond or not.

Nina Shanghavi Jayesh, co-owner of Nyama Mama restaurant, appeared before Milimani senior principal magistrate Wandia Nyamu yesterday where she denied being on the run.

She was wheeled to court by hospital attendants and had an oxygen cylinder fitted to her wheelchair.

nyama mama Nina Shanghavi Jayesh

Nyama Mama restaurant director Nina Jayesh Shanghavi at a Nairobi court on December 21, 2021

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Defence lawyer Charles Njenga applied for her release on bond on health grounds.

“My client has not been on the run. She had travelled for medication and has managed to fly back into the country to attend to this case,” he told the court.

She denied defrauding Victoria Commercial Bank of over Sh520 million through an alleged  loan deal.

But the prosecution vehemently opposed her bail application, saying she had breached previous court orders requiring her to appear for plea taking two weeks ago.

"The accused person has demonstrated that she has no respect for the court. She turned up in court because she knows there is a warrant of arrest in force ,” the magistrate heard.

Nina, who is charged alongside her husband Jayesh Umedlal, denied the charge filed against her.

Ms Wandia ordered Nina to be remanded in Langata Womens Prison Custody until December 23, 2021.

Arrest warrant

Mr Njenga said it was not her desire to engage the prosecution in a long-winding case before she offers herself to face justice.

“She had already left the country when officers from the directorate of criminal investigations visited her city home,” Mr Njenga stated.

The court had earlier issued a warrant for her arrest after she failed to turn up. 

A lawyer representing Victoria Commercial Bank had also requested the prosecution to run a paid advertisement in the local dailies seeking information on her whereabouts.

Yesterday, Mr Njenga urged the magistrate to lift a warrant of arrest issued against her but the plea was opposed by the prosecution, arguing that no tangible evidence has been availed to explain why she did not attend court previously.

The magistrate directed that the warrant of arrest against Nina will remain in force to give time to the accused to attend court sessions. In the event that she does not, then a paid up advert will be placed in a local newspaper.

Jay and Ninaa Shanghavi, Founders Good Earth Group.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Jayesh and Nina, who own various establishments in Nairobi, were jointly charged with others not before court with intent to defraud Victoria Commercial Bank Limited.

The court heard that the accused persons approached the lender to execute a first legal charge over Crystal Edge Apartment Number B2 erected on Land in Nairobi to secure Sh520,000,000.

They claimed the apartment was a valuable security.

They allegedly committed the offence on varied dates between December 10, 2018 and November 2020 in Nairobi.

Jayesh and Nina are both directors of Good Earth Group, which entered into an agreement with the bank and began borrowing loans from  2015 to November 2020.

The couple owns Mr Yao, Blue Door Bar and Nyama Mama restaurants. 

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