A former moderator of Kenya's Presbyterian church stands accused of stealing $400,000

The theft scandal is now threatening to split the church.

Former moderator of the General Assembly of the head of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) was on Wednesday indicted in a Kenyan court for embezzlement of church funds.

David Riitho Gathanju and four former employees of the church were charged with stealing close to Sh40 million ($400,000) in a case that is now threatening to split the church.

The five, being servants of the PCEA church, were charged in a Kiambu County court on account of stealing the cash together with other members who were not present in the court.

The money was the property of the church and had come to their possession by the virtue of their employment.

The five were also charged with another count of conspiring to commit a felony, namely to steal from the PCEA church, on different dates between January 2, 2016, and June 30, 2017, at the church head office in South C, Nairobi.

Four of the defendants denied the counts before Kiambu Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo while Mr Muiruri, who was not in court, had his plea deferred to Monday.

The principal magistrate ordered that the accused be detained until Thursday when she will make a determination on whether they will be freed on bail.

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