Senior officials at the offices of the Registrar of Lands and the Registrar of Companies have recorded statements with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in a probe over a piece of land in Westlands, Nairobi, being claimed by businessman Jimi Wanjigi.
According to court documents and investigative reports seen by the Sunday Nation, among those interrogated are land registrars who allegedly signed what is suspected to be a forged title deed and companies’ registry staff who participated in the registration and changing of names of companies that have laid claim to the property.
They have also been asked to provide specimens of their signatures and stamp impressions to the detectives for further forensic scrutiny.
The detectives have also requested CCTV recordings of the entrance and exits at the State Law Office on May 28 and on a State Counsel at the office of the Registrar of Companies, Ms Jemimah Mungai.
The investigations were initiated to establish the actual owner of the prime land known as Grant I.R No. 65800 L.R.No.1870/II/200 being claimed by both businessman Wanjigi, trading as Aureum Ltd, and Cissy Kalunde Musembi – both of who have titles to the property.
The anomaly was revealed when Aureum Ltd sought to sell the land to Kenroid Limited through their lawyer Taibjee and Bhalla Advocates LLP. It is then that it emerged that another title, supposedly for the same piece of land, had been confiscated at the Ministry of Land on May 28.
It is after the two parties had drawn a sale agreement during the transaction that the authenticity of Aureum Ltd’s title came into question, leading to the rescinding of the sale and a demand by the law firm for a refund of 20 per cent of the Sh56 million that had been paid to Aureum Ltd.
A letter by Taibjee and Bhalla Advocates says; “During the course of the transaction, the authenticity of the title and ownership of the land came into question. The purpose of this letter is to alert you of the above and ask you to surrender the title for safe custody as the undersigned further feels that the custody of this title is now jeopardised,” the letter, signed by Madhav Bhalla, reads.
Aureum Ltd later went to the DCI, who then sought information relating to the registration particulars, memorandum and Articles of Association of Horizon Hills Ltd as well as its registration number C110776. Records revealed Horizon Hills Ltd was registered on July 2, 2004.
The investigating officer suspects that the directors of Kenroid Ltd had conspired to defeat justice by falsely accusing the directors of Aureum Ltd before the Environment and Land Court, Case No. 100 of 2019.
According to the purported land purchase details, the vendor was allegedly paid through Wambua & Maseno LLP Advocates Associates.
Ms Musembi allegedly paid Sh54 million from her two accounts. She is then said to have paid Sh14 million as stamp duty on October 25, 2018 to Kenya Revenue Authority.
The purchase price was later deposited into an account jointly held by David Njenga Samson Kuria, Henry Njoroge Njenga, and Samuel Njuguna Chege.
Wambua & Maseno LLP Advocates had earlier indicated to the DCI that they had paid Sh92 million into a bank account jointly held by David Njenga Samson Kuria, Henry Njoroge Njenga, and Samuel Njuguna Chege on behalf of their client, Ms Musembi.
But a bank statement obtained by the DCI through a Miscellaneous Criminal Application No.2106 of 2019 has revealed that the lawyer only disbursed Sh6.3 million to Ms Musembi’s account.
Investigations have also revealed that another company known as M/s Horizon Hills Limited was registered on November 24, 2006 and later changed its name to Aureum Ltd.
Aureum Ltd acquired all shares and properties including parcel of land (Grant Title I.R No.65800 L.R No.1870/II/200) at a price of Sh138.6 million, previously owned by Horizon Hills Ltd.
Following the development, Kenroid Limited then placed a caveat at the Ministry of Land, claiming purchaser’s interest on the land.
But during a land tribunal hearing by the Registrar of Land and Titles at the Ministry of Land, it was revealed that there were two sets of titles, one held by Aureum Ltd and another by Ms Musembi.
It was then decided that the parties resolved that the matter be investigated by the DCI and the Lands PS, then released the title to the investigators.