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How Waititu used his position to take away land from a widow

Thursday September 26 2019

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. The embattled governor could face new charges of abuse of office after he used his position to take land away from a resident. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AGEWA MAGUT
By AGEWA MAGUT
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ELIZABETH KAMURUNGI
By ELIZABETH KAMURUNGI
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Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu could face new charges of abuse of office after he used his position to take land away from a widow.

Following an investigation and subsequent recommendation by the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) uncovered that a prime property belonging to Ms Cecilia Mbugua was fraudulently transferred to Ms Esther Nyatu through the office of the governor and the governor himself.

CAJ Chairperson Florence Kajuju handed over title deeds to back to Ms Mbugua following an admission by Mr Waititu of his role in taking away the land worth Sh100 million.

The commission’s investigations revealed that two properties – Thika Municipality/BlockXI/877 and Thika Municipality/BlockXI/878 – belonging to Ms Mbugua, were transferred to Ms Nyatu, in a process facilitated by the governor.

The investigation followed a complaint filed with the commission on March 5.

Kiambu County land officials revealed that Mr Waititu facilitated the transfer and provided all the required documents.

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“The land registrar explained that his office received duly executed transfer documents and had no way of determining or detecting any irregularity in the transfer process,” CAJ said in its statement.

REPORT

"We will hand over our report to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. We are not allowed to prosecute. We follow our investigations and if we find a criminal element then we forward the same to the relevant offices," Ms Kajuju said.

Ms Mbugua's land issues began in 2013 after she sought the county's approval to develop it.

The approval was given but was soon after revoked by the county government on allegation that the land belonged to a Jua Kali association.

Ms Mbugua went to court and she won the case.

GAZETTED

But the government later forwarded the case to the National Land Commission for investigations and after it was gazetted, the county government withdrew its interest in the land.

Under the new county government, Ms Mbugua was summoned to Mr Waititu's office and given an ultimatum to surrender two of five plots that she owns or never get the county's approval to develop the land.

She gave in to pressure and gave up two parcels which were transferred to Ms Nyatu, who, according to CAJ, was not even aware of the transfer.

Ms Mbugua, who owns five plots of prime land in Thika town, had received a call in December 2017 from the governor’s office, summoning her to a meeting with Mr Waititu.

RELINQUISH PLOTS

Mr Waititu said that the issues with the NCL were over, but insisted that Ms Mbugua would only get approvals to build on her land if she relinquished two of the plots to Ms Esther Nyatu.

In January 2018, the land was transferred to Ms Nyatu, yet no bank slip or sale agreement were provided.

Investigations by CAJ revealed that Ms Nyatu’s details, such as copies of her identification card, KRA PIN, and passport size photograph were provided to the county land officials by the governor himself.

It was after these revelations and interview by the commission that Governor Waititu surrendered the title deeds to be returned to Ms Mbugua.