An American priest Father William Charles Fryda of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society. PHOTO | NATIONAn American priest Father William Charles Fryda of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society. PHOTO | NATION
By MAUREEN KAKAH

An American priest at the center of a row pitting him against nuns over the ownership of a missionary hospital has been arraigned in court charged with fraud.

Father William Charles Fryda of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society in the United States denied three offences of forgery, uttering a false document and conspiracy to defraud.

He appeared before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on Tuesday. Chief Magistrate Andayi ordered him to pay Sh500,000 as bond to secure his release from custody pending his trial.

The prosecution told the court that the Catholic Priest forged a letter for change of signatories of the St. Mary’s Missions Hospital’s accounts at Prime Bank, five years ago.

“On September 17, 2103, at an unknown place within the republic of Kenya with intent to deceive, the accused forged a letter for change of signatories on accounts domiciled in the said bank’s Riverside branch while purporting it to have been issued by the St. Marys hospital, a fact he knew was false,” the prosecution said.

The court heard that the accused changed signatories through a letter addressed to Jane Mungai Chafallu, a manager at the said bank. He allegedly committed the said offence on September 26, 2013.

OWNERSHIP ROW

He is also accused of conspiring with others, who were not presented before court at the time he was taking plea, intending to defraud nuns the ownership of the said health facility.

The ugly row concerning ownership of church affiliated medical institution got into the spotlight last year when the Assumption of Sisters, Nairobi, forcefully evicted the old management together with the staff at the Langata based hospital following the nuns’ victory in a case dispute before the Environment and Lands Court at Milimani.

On September 28, 2017, Justice Munyao Sila granted the nuns the leeway to take over managing St. Mary’s Hospital from the hands of the priest.

Consequently, the nuns stormed the health facility in January to actualize he court’s directive at its other Centre in Gilgil while in the company of police officers.

The priest, who has always claimed to be the founder of the facility and that he had only allowed the nuns to register as trustees, was arrested on Tuesday before being arraigned in court to answer the charges.

While the nuns are listed as witnesses in the criminal case has just kicked off, the priest who is also a doctor, has previously accused the nuns of merely trying to kick him out of his own property.