Two women have been arrested in Kisauni, Mombasa for allegedly defrauding residents more than Sh2 million in a land-buying syndicate.
The two, who are said to have connections with senior land officers and local administrators, were seized by Mwembelegeza locals shortly after receiving Sh1.7 million from a businesswoman few days after accepting another Sh400, 000 as a deposit from a different party for the same piece of land.
The locals said they became suspicious of the deal after the second buyer started uprooting beacons from the land.
It took the intervention of Bamburi police officers to save the duo from a lynch mob.
Two title deeds, seen by Nation, were issued to two buyers by the Mombasa land offices for the same land. The first was issued in March 2005 to Mr Geoffrey Omondi while the second was issued to Ms Joyce Wanjiku in October 2016.
The documents indicate the two women are well connected to different senior land officers in Mombasa who facilitate their illegal transactions.
Ms Barke Ali, a businesswoman who lost Sh1.7 million from the deal, said they followed all procedures to acquire the land.
“We have visited lands offices in Mombasa and the land registrar assured us the land is not contentious and we can make payment. We gave the two women Sh1 million as first deposit but when we went to the ground after making the last payment, we noticed the land had been sold to a number of people,” said Ms Ali.
She also blamed local elders who assured them the land belongs to the two women.
“While making the deposit, a village elder was present..but it seems they are in the deal as they had never raised any issue regarding the land yet the same group was involved in selling the same land to different people before,” she said.
Mr Mohammed Duba, the second buyer who deposited Sh400, 000 for the same land, has also recorded a statement with the police.
“The two women are well connected and they even brought a lawyer who assisted us to carry out transaction tom make the deal more genuine. We have all the evidence which we shall present to the police to save many who have fallen into this trap,” said Mr Duba.
Kisauni police boss Julius Kiragu confirmed the arrest of the two women and said they are looking for more suspects linked to the fraud scheme.
“One of the woman has had a land fraud case in court since 2008…Different people have also been issued with allotment letters which we are also verifying them,” said Mr Kiragu.
The police boss said several people have recorded statements regarding the same piece of land.
He said they are also investigating how the two women managed to acquire multiple identity cards.
“The two women have different ID cards, one has two ID cards while the other has three. This is illegal and we shall charge them,” said Mr Kiragu.