Former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo on Tuesday obtained reprieve after a High Court ruled that he may not face prosecution on fraudulent charges over a disputed piece of land linked to retired President Daniel Arap Moi’s son.
In his ruling, Justice George Odunga said that the case in which the former legislator had claimed that a criminal suit against him was being used to settle political scores, has merit hence quashed the decision to have him prosecuted.
Consequently, the judge quashed the fraudulent charges with four counts which include obtaining execution of security by false pretence, making a document without authority, uttering a false document and giving fabricated information to a person employed in the public service.
Justice Odunga however said that his verdict had not made any determination on the merits of the said criminal offences but went ahead to stop the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Director of Criminal Investigations, the Attorney General, the Inspector-General of Police and the Milimani Chief Magistrate Court from proceeding with his trial.
Justice Odunga said the court has a constitutional duty to ensure that a flawed and threatened trial is stopped if it is likely to violate any of Mr Jirongo’s rights.
“Having considered the material placed before me in this case, without making a finding as to the innocence of Mr Jirongo, it is my view that it would be unjust to prosecute him for an offence which was allegedly committed nearly two and half decades ago particularly when both the complainants and the accused contend that the relevant transactional documents may have been lost, misplaced or tampered with,” he said.
Mr Jirongo is, mainly, accused of giving false information linking Mr Jonathan Moi to a Sh50 million land fraud dispute and was, therefore, set to be charged.
Soy Developers Limited (SDL), Deposit Protection Fund Board, Mr Sammy Boit arap Kogo, Ms Antoinette Boit and ASL Limited have been listed as interested parties in the case in which he sought to stop his trial.
The genesis of the dispute is based on his acquisition of a Sh20 million parcel of land 25 years ago in Nairobi’s Upper Hill registered in the name of SDL.
He had told the court that he paid the Boits Sh10 million through Oraro and Rachier Advocates and they both remained shareholders and directors of the company.
He was then granted the title deed and went ahead to charge the property to City Finance Bank to secure a Sh30 million loan.
After clearing the loan, he charged the property again to Postbank Credit for an advance of Sh50 million.
But since Postbank Credit had collapsed, the property was transferred to ASL limited in 2006.
He alleged that the Boits were proxies for Mr Moi and since he had paid him Sh7 million on May 5, 1992, he ended up paying a total of Sh27 million instead of the original agreed sum of Sh20 million.
However, in 2005 DCI officers started investigations after the Boits claimed that the property’s title deed was lost yet they had not transferred their shares and that Mr Jirongo had allegedly not finished the payments.
The Boits also lodged complaints to various entities, including the Banking Fraud Investigations Department.