Former NLC Vice Chair Testifies Land Belongs to Investment Firm in Sh1Bn Fraud Case

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Former National Land Commission Vice Chair Abigail Mbagaya testified in a Nairobi court yesterday that a disputed parcel of land, valued at approximately Kshs 1 billion, located in Nairobi’s Donholm Estate, belongs to an investment firm.

During cross-examination by defense lawyer George Gilbert, Mbagaya informed Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina that the criminal case involving a former Kayole chief and three other individuals, charged with land fraud amounting to Sh 944 million, pertains to Gidjoy Investment Ltd.

When asked if she could confirm that the land in question indeed belonged to Gidjoy Investment Ltd, the complainant in the criminal case, she affirmed, “Yes, the land belongs to Gidjoy. I received some documents during the NLC hearing in 2016 before it was halted by the court.”

Mbagaya further stated that the NLC had not reached a determination on the ownership dispute brought before it.

During her earlier testimony, Mbagaya, who also chaired the review of grants committee of the commission, revealed that the NLC had received a complaint from the Nairobi County government to review the legality and propriety of the piece of land in question, as it was considered public land.

She added that the commission, through the committee, invited concerned parties to make presentations on how they had acquired the pieces of land on January 14, 2016. “The commission listened to Gidjoy Investment, the County Government of Nairobi, Sowesava Self-Help Group, and other groups,” said Mbagaya.

In her witness statement, she informed the court that she later discovered that her former boss and chairman, Mohammed Swazuri, had made a decision regarding the property through a Gazette Notice dated November 18, 2018.

“When it was brought to my attention that the Chairman had gazetted the determination despite the matter being actively before the court, and the commission facing potential contempt charges, I proceeded to reverse the Chairman’s illegal decision and state the correct position of the commission that the matter was in court.”

She further clarified that a correction was made through a corrigendum in the Kenya Gazette dated February 15, 2019, canceling the commission’s determination concerning the dispute surrounding the Gazette Notice dated November 9, 2018.

In this case, four officials of the Sowesava Self-Help Group are facing charges of conspiring to defraud Gidjoy Investment Limited of 11.8 acres of land worth Kshs 944 million.

The accused individuals include Patrobas Awino, an organizing secretary, a former Chief of Kayole in Nairobi, Alexander Hoops, Peter Gitau Muiruri, Peter Njoroge Kanika, and Patrobas Awino.

They are charged with conspiring to defraud the company by falsely pretending to possess a genuine title deed issued and signed by Rosemary Anyango Ngong’a, a Land Registrar, on or about November 28, 2001, in conjunction with others who are not currently before the court.

The 11.8 acres are formerly Nairobi Block 82/7333, now part of the amalgamation of parcels from Nairobi Block 82/7813 to Nairobi Block 82/7856.

The four individuals are also accused of forging a Letter of Allotment and a Lease with the intent to defraud the company of the land worth Sh 944 million. They also face a charge of forging a title deed, purporting it to be a genuine title issued and signed by Rosemary Anyango on unknown dates, in collaboration with others who are not before the court.

The court heard that they also forged another lease, purporting it to be a genuine lease signed, stamped, and executed by Ng’arua Kamuya Ng’arua, an advocate of the High Court.

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