A Canadian missionary running an orphanage in Ngong was Wednesday charged with seven counts of fraud in obtaining a 15-acre piece of land valued at Sh60 million.
The charges were read out to Sheppard Nelson Jason before Nairobi magistrate Lucas Onyina at the Milimani law court.
Jason was accused with conspiracy to defraud, forgery of title deed, fraudulent land transaction, uttering false statements and obtaining land by false pretense.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The prosecution said the offence was committed before June 5, 2012, when Jason and others who were not before court conspired to defraud Jeremiah Sailoji and Rhoda Ann Baxter of the said parcel in Ngong, Kajiado county.
Defence lawyers however rejected those claims saying their client was a Canadian missionary who came to Kenya in 2010 and has since been running a charitable children’s home in Ngong.
They said Jason acquired the land in 2012 and has since developed it, causing the valued to rise to the said Sh60 million.
He claimed the complainant was one of the employees at the children’s home until 2020 when his services were terminated. He said the complainant then rushed to the labour court to quash his sacking, with the matter still pending.
In his argument for lenient bond terms, Jason said he ought to be released so that he can continue taking care of the 85 children at the orphanage.
The prosecution did not oppose his release on bond although the complainant’s lawyer claimed Jason was rude to the police and was likely to interfere with witnesses. Sailoji also held that the accused was a flight risk.
But the defence team repudiated those claims saying they were just suppositions and that the prosecution had not raised such claims.
“It is now clear that the complainant is bent on persecuting the accused,” the lawyer said.
Magistrate Onyina agreed with the defence team, saying allegations of witness interference ought to be supported in affidavits and by evidence. He said no compelling evidence had been adduced to deny the accused bail.
“In this case, the contention for bond/bail does not meet the threshhold. The accused is therefore granted bail of Sh200,000 with one Kenyan contact person,” Onyina ruled.
The court set the case for pretrial on June 9.