Stephen Mukuha and George Gachwe, brothers and co-owners of Tuskys Supermarkets were on Wednesday charged with five counts of theft and set free on a cash bail of Sh1 million or Sh3 million bond each.
The two were charged with theft of Sh1.64 billion from the retail chain, rekindling a decade-long sibling fight for control of the company. They are said to have come across the money by virtue of their employment at Tuskys where they also served as directors.
The prosecution accused Mr Mukuha and Mr Gachwe of stealing the money on diverse dates between 2002 and 2012 jointly with others not before the court. Police added that the money was stolen in five tranches of Sh400 million, Sh279 million, Sh200 million, Sh322 million and Sh441 million from the Tuskys head office on Nairobi’s Mombasa Road..
Mr Mukuha and Mr Gachwe, who own 17.5 per cent of the retailer each, are alleged to have committed the crime, with the assistance of unnamed parties, over a period of 10 years following the death of their father, the Tuskys’ founder, in 2002.
Their arraignment was the culmination of an investigation that began in February 2012 when Yusuf Mugweru, the Founders other son, raised the alarm over the theft of funds from the retail chain’s accounts.
Mr Mugweru’s action caused deep division in the wealthy family that has since pulled in the third generation heirs and sparked private and public spats, including the recent forceful ejection from office of the retail chain’s chief executive, Dan Githua.
Saibabo Kanchori, the lawyer representing Mr Mukuha and Mr Gachwe, yesterday notified the court of the ongoing feud in the family while arguing for the accused’s release on bail.
“The complainants in the case are brothers of the accused persons who have had a tussle for control of the business,” said Mr Kanchori, adding that the case is an extension of family feuds.
The battle for the control of Tuskys started when Mr Mugweru accused his two co-directors of using related companies and subsidiaries such as Enkarasha, Magic Pay and Ndykak Investments to irregularly draw Sh1.6 billion from the retail chain.
The brothers were also accused of converting the three companies into subsidiaries of Tuskys in an attempt to curtail the course of justice, and the money used to set them up into loans.