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Papers reveal plot to grab Sh8bn land

Saturday September 17 2016
LANPIC

Parliamentary Lands Committee members tour the controversial Karen land on October 27, 2014. Konzolo, through his Telesource.com Ltd, claims to have acquired the land from Mr Mugo Kamau on October 21, 2005, with Mr Kamau having acquired it in 1978. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WANJOHI GITHAE

Documents from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Ministry of Lands have now revealed the conspiracy behind the Sh8 billion Karen land grab.

The papers filed in court show how State officials, working in cahoots with fraudsters, attempted to transfer the property to a firm associated with former NSSF managing trustee Jos Konzolo.

Muchanga Investments Ltd moved to court in September 2014 and successfully obtained orders stopping any development or sub-division on the 134.4 acre land until the dispute has been determined.

Muchanga’s Horatious Da Gama Rose sued Konzolo and the Lands Ministry. Da Gama Rose has since died and was buried last week.

Mr Emmanuel Arunga, who filed his witness statement last Tuesday, said that as head of the EACC investigations team probing the controversial land, he had concluded that the land belongs to Muchanga Ltd.

“I led the investigating team that collected evidence and compiled the investigation report in respect of suit land LR 3586/3, and I wish to rely on the report filed in court as evidence,” Arunga’s statement filed on September 5, 2016 states.

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In his report, the EACC sleuth had concluded that the land belongs to Muchanga Ltd as he found that the title claimed by Telesource.com was a fraud, after cross-examining several witnesses and assessing the documentation.

“I conclude that the land belongs to Muchanga Investments Ltd and all the people involved in the attempt to fraudulently transfer the property to Telesource.com should be charged in court,” the report stated.

Already, Mr Konzolo, former chief land registrar Sarah Mwenda, her deputy Geoffrey Birundu (now deceased), ex-Senior Deputy Director of Survey Pauline Gitimu, Registrar of Titles Mark Muigai and businessman James Mbaluka have been charged with conspiracy to defraud, among other charges.

Former Lands CS Charity Ngilu was also charged with obstructing investigations into the land case.

FALSE DOCUMENTS

Konzolo, through his Telesource.com Ltd, claims to have acquired the land from Mr Mugo Kamau on October 21, 2005, with Mr Kamau having acquired it in 1978.

“That the property known as LR No 3586/2/3 (currently known as LR No. 3586/3) was transferred to Mr John Mugo on August 24, 1978, vide a certificate of Title IR31187 and the title was issued on March 2, 1978,” Mr Konzolo’s affidavit through Gikera and Vadgama Advocates dated December 18, 2014, states.

But the EACC report says there was no indication of who transferred the land to Mr John Kamau Mugo as per the title obtained from the lands office, which was under the custody of Ms Sarah Mwenda.

“The IR No of Certificate of Title issued to Mr John Kamau Mugo is 31187 but when we randomly compared it with an IR no 32487 given to Mr Othniel Gakao Njungwa on August 14, investigations found that the number comes after the one issued to Mr Mugo, which is not logical because the numbers should flow numerically.”

Investigations also found that the rent clearance certificate No 308335 dated January 10, 2005 issued to Mr John Kamau Mugo and kept in the records of the chief land registrar, and also presented to EACC, Konzolo’s is a forgery because the booklet that housed the certificate was picked from the stores.

It was picked on December 19, 2012 and given to a Mr Muinde on January 10, 2013, who issued certificate for LR No 12215.  

The EACC also established that the certificate of stamp duty number 46189 purportedly issued from the department of lands does not appear in any record maintained at the lands office.

Also, the booklet of stamp duty No 0046151 to 0046200 that could have issued 0046189 had not been issued from the stores for use.

The graft body also says the transfer documents between Arnold Bradley and Kamau Mugo dated August 24, 1978 and presented to them by Konzolo, were not true since Bradley had died in 1973.

SUB-DIVISION REVOKED

The commission also established from records at City Hall that Konzolo had in 2011 tried unsuccessfully to have the parcel sub-divided using forged plans with the aim of fraudulently obtaining certified copies of the deed plans issued to Muchanga Ltd.  

The EACC report appears to complement witness statements which have already been filed in court by several Ministry of lands officials who have disowned the documents associated with Telesource.com.

Those who have dismissed the documents - through filed statements - include Lands Secretary Peter Kahuho, director of survey Cesare Mbare, director of physical planning Augustine Masinde, senior land registration officer Edwin Wafula, chief physical planner Moses Mugendi and senior survey officers John Mwangi Mwaniki.

Mr Mbare said the Department of Survey is aware of a sub-division done by Muchanga Ltd, which was later cancelled.

Private surveyor Lawrence Gitau had told EACC that he received instructions from Pauline Gitimu to compile the survey plan that had been cancelled.

Mr Gitau said he did not know the owner of the land.

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