BY IRENE ONYANGO.
The Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o can now breathe a sigh of relief after the High Court suspended her prosecution over alleged fraud of Sh29 million.
Justice Chacha Mwita suspended Nyakang’o’s prosecution pending hearing and determination filed by West Mugirango Member of Parliament Stephen Mogaka.
“A conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the prosecution of Margret Nyakang’o in Mombasa Chief Magistrate’s Criminal case NO. E1674 OF 2023, Republic vs Margaret Nyakang’o and 10 others unlit 21st May 2024,” ordered Judge Mwita.
The MP challenged her prosecution claiming that it was meant to harass and embarrass her.
Nyakang’o was arrested and charged before a Mombasa court with three counts of fraud, operating a Sacco without a licence and forgery. She denied the charges and was freed on bond.
The MP submitted that the alleged offences lack a proper factual basis to give rise to criminal charges as they are founded on a civil matter that has been adjudicated before civil courts.
He claimed that the arrest came in the wake of her public exposes with regards to the fiscal improprieties in the running of various state arms and agencies.
Mogaka further said the arrest and prosecution is a knee jerk reaction motivated by ulterior motives and unprecedented abuse of process.
He said the arrest was conducted under orchestrated publicity and fanfare which violated Nyakang’o’s rights to dignity and embarrassing her in return.
“The decision to investigate a crime (or prosecute in the case of the DPP) must not be unreasonable or made in bad faith or intended to achieve ulterior motive or used as a tool for personal score settling or vilification,” said Mogaka.
The court directed the DCI and DPP to file their responses within 14 days after service after which Mogaka will equally have 14 days to file and serve a supplementary affidavit.
“As an independent constitutional office holder, Dr Margaret Nyakang’o’s role is of immense importance to the governance, checks and balance mechanism in the country and to this end, she has discharged her duty with exemplary impartiality, integrity and fairness,” the MP said.
BY SAM ALFAN .
Equity Bank chief executive officer James Mwangi has said he did not borrow loan from the bank to acquire a contested parcel in Nairobi’s upmarket Muthaiga estate.
Testifying before High Court Judge M. Mwangi, Mwangi further said he did not offer any security to secure the land, which he claimed he purchased from the late President Daniel Moi.
Maestro Connections Health System has sued Riley Services, United State International University (USIU), DPS International ltd and Moi among others including law firms over the parcel.
“In 2016 I had no position in the board or the management. I do not know about the loan. I did not borrow money from Equity bank to buy this property. I did not submit any documentation to any bank official regarding this transaction. The property is not listed as a security it was not providing any revenue at repayment”, he testified.
He told the court he is a director and shareholder of Muthaiga Luxury Homes ltd alongside together with his wife. He said the company is family business and the intention of purchasing the land was to build a ‘city within a city’.
“Having gotten the title, we took possession of the land and fenced with concrete poles but it was bushy. We were not buying the land for agricultural purposes. This was a prime property we intended to develop into a city within a city,” he submitted.
The bank executive urged the court to find that he took part in an “honest transaction”.
“We are asking the court to find that the title we hold is from an honest transaction. I would ask the court to find that I am holding a genuine title and that I exercised due care in my transactions and that I have given adequate evidence,” he submitted.
He informed the court that he visited Moi in early 2013 at his Karbanet Gardens residence to thank the former head of state for selling the land to him.
“My visit was to say thank to an elder the visit lasted at least one and half hours. I presented a gift to him which made him very excited. I gave him a golden pen and a bottle of ink,” he said.
Mwangi said he bought the 20-acre piece of land from Moi in February 2012 for Sh300 million after confirming that the former President legitimately owned it.
He has listed USIU-A, Moi, Mr Kiongera’s Maestro Connections Health Systems Limited, the Chief Lands Registrar, the Director of Survey and Attorney-General Githu Muigai as the respondents in the case.
Court papers show that Moi was represented in the transaction by businessman Andrew Sunkuli.
Mwangi says he bought the property through his company, Muthaiga Luxury Homes, and has attached the sale agreement and transfer documents with Moi’s signature as evidence in the suit.
Maestro Connections Health System ltd on its part wants the court to issue permanent injunction to issue restraining the defendants from entering, invading or trespassing into the land, more specifically known as L.R No. 12422/19 (L.R 36415) at new Muthaiga Estate, Nairobi.
The company further seeks to compel the Kasarani police Station boss to provide security on the contested land.
It is the company’s argument that the purported consolidation or amalgamation of L.R No. 12422/19 (I.R 36414) and L.R No. 12422/18 (Ι.Κ. No. 36415) was irregular and fraudulent.
“An order directed at the 5th Defendant (Ndungu Paul Ndiritu) to cancel, revoke and or destroy any titles and instruments created or registered after and on the strength of the fraudulent amalgamation of title Number L..R No. 12422/19 (I.R 36414) and L..R No. 12422/18 (I.R No. 36415) that purportedly gave rise to Title Number L..R No. 12597 (I.R 38524),” seeks the company.
It further seeks the court to declare that TripleOKLaw Advocates LLP fraudulently misrepresented itself to Maestro Company that it had instructions from the former president Daniel Moi.
The company also seeks for an order directing TripleOKlaw advocates LLP to compensate Maestro fully for the loss of the suit property at the current market value to be valued by the Chief Government Valuer within 30 days of the judgment.
The company also seeks for special damages, security guard services Sh. 8,786,957.52 and costs incurred for the construction of a perimeter wall of Sh. 19,612,800.
BY NT CORRESPONDENT .
A Chinese contractor has been charged with obtaining Sh5.8 million through fraud in an apartment deal.
Sheng Xing and his company Tenlong Construction ltd appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi and denied the charges.
The contractor was accused of obtaining Sh5,800,000 from Wallmatt Group Limited by falsely pretending that he was in a position to sell a one bedroom apartment house in Kileleshwa, a fact he knew to be false.
It is alleged that he committed the offence between 1st September 2020 and 2nd May 2023, at Kileleshwa in Nairobi, jointly with others not before court, with intent to defraud.
The court was further informed that Xing issued a bad cheque for Sh900,000 in favor of Wallmatt Group Limited on Sidian Bank account number of Tenglong Construction Limited, yet he was aware that his firm had insufficient funds.
The charge sheet stated that he issued the cheque on 2 May 2023, at Kileleshwa in Nairobi.
He was released on a bond of Sh2 million or alternative cash bail of Sh500,000.
BY IRENE ONYANGO.
Two women have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the director of Tranz Global Services of Sh68 million.
Selestine Muyoka Wanjala and Mourine Oside Mugarizi were accused of conspiring to defraud Thomas Burton Coleman USD 445,000 (Sh.68,240,750.00.
It is alleged that they falsely pretended that they were in a position to offer him transport services and ship cargo from Belgrade to Malawi, fact they knew to be false.
They denied the charge when they appeared before Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi.
The charge sheet stated the duo committed the offense on diverse dates between 5th April and 30th July 2022, within Nairobi County, jointly with others not before court and with the intention to defraud.
The court ordered them to deposit bond of Sh.2 million each, with one surety of a similar amount or pay an alternative cash bail of Sh 500,000 with one contact person
BY IRENE ONYANGO.
An agent has been charged with obtaining over Sh 5.8 million from job seekers promising to secure jobs abroad for them.
Teresia Mumbi Kamau appeared before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi and denied a total of 41 counts of obtaining money from job seekers.
Mumbi who is accused of taking money from innocent job seekers and failing to secure the said jobs after pocketing the money.
The charge sheet stated that she received between Sh22,000 to Sh350,000 from the job hunters, pretending that she would secure them jobs in Australia.
The charges stated that she committed the offence between October 2022 and August 2023.
One of the counts stated that she obtained Sh350,000 from Peter Kamau between 1st February and 1 August 2023, in Nairobi, jointly with others not before court, with intent to defraud.
She also obtained Sh200,000 from Vincent Nyaga by falsely pretending that she secure him a job placement in Australia upon completion of a training that she offered.
The court denied bail meaning that she will remain in custody until further directions from the court.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Kenya’s Controller of Budget Dr. Margaret Nyangate Nyakang’o has been charged before a Mombasa court with several counts including defrauding a depositor of Sh29 million.
Dr Nyakang’o was also accused of operating FEB Sacco Society Limited without a valid licence and forgery.
She was presented before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Alex Ithuku who released her on bail, after denying the charges.
The charges against her stated that she defrauded Claudia Mweni Mutungi of Sh 29 million on diverse dates between 1 November, 2019 and 1 May, 2020, by pretending to operate a genuine investment FEB Sacco Ltd.
She is also charged for operating the deposit taking outfit without a valid licence from Sacco Regulatory Authority.
The prosecution further claimed that Dr Nyakang’o forged Mweni’s signature an offence she allegedly committed on 2 December, 2019 at FEB Sacco Society Limited within Mombasa.
The court ordered her to deposit bond of Sh. 2 million with a surety of a similar amount or alternative cash bail of Sh 500,000, to secure her release.
The case will be mentioned on 13th December 2023 for further directions.
The Court at the same time issued summons to Dr. Nyakang’o’s co-accused Jackson Ngure Wanjau, Susan Kendi Kiambati, James Makena Wanyangi, John Muchira Kithaka and Jane Karuu Ndanyi.
Other co-accused are Muthoni Eliphas, Joan Chumo, Mercy Ndura Mukora, Gregory Mwangangi Mailu and Michael Kipkirui.
BY SAM ALFAN .
A Nakuru based Doctor has sued the deputy director of Asset Recovery Agency Deputy Jennifer Gitiri for holding multiple public offices denying other Kenyans a chance to serve in those positions.
Dr. Magare Gikenyi accuses Gitiri of sitting as a board member in several key institutions including Council of Legal Education, Kenya Law Reporting Council (KLRC), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Witness Protection Agency (WPA) and Victim Protection Agency (VPA).
Justice Lawrence Mugambi directed the doctor to serve the application and petition within 14 days and appear in open court for highlighting submissions next year.
The petitioner alleges that Gitiri draws salary and allowances for sitting on those institutions to the detriment of other Kenyans.
Dr. Gikenyi wants the court to issue an order prohibiting Gitiri from sitting in the five public institutions as a board member.
“A conservatory orders be issued against Jennifer Gitiri prohibiting her from sitting as a board member and or employee of the Interested Parties (CLE, KLRC, KRA, Witness Protection Agency and Victim Protection Agency) and drawing any allowance for such sitting pending hearing and determination of the petition,” seeks Dr. Gikenyi.
Besides, Dr Gikenyi said Gitiri also sits a Board of director of two private entities including living water and ACAMS East Africa Chapter.
He argues that it is inconceivable and smacks of favouritism and cryonism for the Attorney General to appoint Gitiri to sit on 5 different public boards as his representative and at the same time holds four other substantive public appointments as a full time employee of Witness Protection agency and CLE.
He further argues AG does not qualify to sit on even a single board of Directors as she is a full time employee of ARA as the Deputy Director Legal Services and Corporation Secretary, which is a separate entity from the Office of the Attorney General.
Dr Gikenyi further pointed out that for one to qualify to sit on a Board of Directors as a representative of the Attorney General one must be in active and direct employment of the state law office.
“I wish to point out that Gitiri has no outstanding skill or extraordinary intellect that makes her better qualified than close to 800 State Counsels working in the Attorney General’s chambers who can and should similarly be appointed to public boards as a representative of the Attorney General,” he said.
Gitiri was recently appointed as the Acting Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of CLE on 9 October 2023.
Dr Gikenyi said Gitiri does not have requisite qualifications to hold the substantive position of CLE’s CEO and Secretary to the Board.
He adds that Gitiri lacks a PhD in law and was called to the Bar in the year 2011 and has therefore does have 15 years of practice as set by the PSC.
She also does not have experience of working in a senior position for more than six years, Dr Gikenyi said.
“With a total of assignments, 8 known public assignments and two private assignments the 1st Respondent cannot conceivably deliver on any of those assignments, she is thus overstretched and It is not humanly possible four full jobs, in public service, and yet deliver on them seamlessly namely, Deputy Director Legal Services, Corporation Secretary of the ARA, Acting CEO at CLE and Acting Secretary at CLE,” says the doctor.
He said the zeal and impunity with which the AG has been appointing Gitiri to various public position and coercing other appointing authorities in department to appointment her reeks impunity and a ‘shareholder’ attitude towards public service, where she is appointed to multiple seemingly lucrative and influential public appointments at the expense of many State Counsels at the Attorney Generals chambers and with connivance of the PSC through silence.
He faults PSC and the Victim Protection agency have failed, neglected and or refused to rein in Gitiri and AG in perpetuating impunity and are merely fence sitting AG intimidates them and perpetuates the concept of ‘shareholding’ in public service by allowing and appointing Gitiri to hold ten jobs, eight of which are in public service.
He adds that Gitiri is heavily conflicted mobilizing and raising revenue using her eight government offices for the benefit of a private entity called Living Water and writing as such on Living Water’s website on one hand and then on the other hand serving KRA a government of Kenya agency purporting to similarly raise revenue for the Government of the Republic of Kenya.
BY SAM ALFAN and IRENE ONYANGO.
Raila Odinga has made true his threat of stopping President William Ruto’s move to sell national treasures to potential highest bidders.
The court has temporarily agreed with him and stopped the sale of 11 parastatals, among them the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre, KICC.
Justice Chacha Mwita suspended the implementation of section 21(1) of privation act 2023 or any other decision made pursuant to that section until next year.
The parastatals include KICC, Kenya Pipeline (KPC), New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), Kenya Seed companies Ltd(KSC), The National Oil Cooperation of Kenya (NOCk)among others.
“The harm or damage that shall be caused to the public interest will be disproportionate to any inconvenience or damage, if any, that will be caused to any person by staying the implementation of the impugned amendments and failure to grant the said orders will occasion disproportionate prejudice or loss of prized sovereign assets of the Republic of Kenya at the detriment of the people,” Raila says through the ODM party.
Through Lawyer Jackson Awele, Orange Democratic Party, moved to court to overturn the implementation of the privatisation act 2023 including the 2023 privatisation programme or any other decision, programme or decision made pursuant to the said act.
In the petition, ODM seeks a declaration that the National Assembly did not conduct adequate or effective public participation before passing the Privatization Act, 2023.
“A declaration that the Privatization Act, 2023 violates Article 1(1) of the Constitution of Kenya in so far as it elevates subjective economic considerations and perspectives above the principles of sovereignty, democracy and accountability,” the party request.
The ODM party further petitions the court to declare that the delegated authority of the state can not be invoked to sell or privatize public assets of strategic and cultural significance to the people and the Republic of Kenya
“A declaration that some public assets including but limited to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), the Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) and the Kenya Seed Company Limited (KSC) form part of the sovereign wealth of the Republic of Kenya with significant cultural and strategic importance to the people of Kenya and can only be privatized with the consent of the people at a referendum,” seeks Raila’s party.
The opposition party also seeks the court to declare that the Privatization Act as designed, lacks an adequate system of checks and balances to protect sovereign assets of the people of Kenya from willful wastage and corruption.
The party argues that in breach of the foregoing provisions, neither the public nor the Petitioner was given a reasonable or meaningful opportunity to comment on or contribute to the substantive provisions of the impugned amendments at any stage prior to their passage by the National Assembly.
ODM further argues that any engagements with the public concerning the impugned amendments, if at all, were wholly cosmetic public relation exercises designed to create the false impression of compliance and the impugned amendments significantly concentrate the power to identify and dispose of public assets, some of which have acquired the status of identifiers of Kenya’s cultural heritage, on the executive to the exclusion of the citizenry.
“In essence, the impugned amendments have the effect of fundamentally dissipating the sovereign wealth and identity of the Republic of Kenya and its peoples at the whims of the executive,” party told the court.
The party argues that it is aware that members of the public harbor grave concerns which would have been substantially addressed through the relevant committees of the National Assembly had they been accorded the opportunity to meaningfully offer their views as by law required.
“It is accordingly fair, just and in the public interest that the public be availed of the opportunity, as Constitutionally mandated, to contribute to the said laws and the significance of the national principles and values of governance are not and cannot be subordinate to subjective economic perspectives of privatization and that the decision to privatize sovereign assets ought to be subjected to a higher threshold of public participation to wit; a National referendum,” says the party.
BY SAM ALFAN .
A man convicted drug peddler has lost two prime properties after the High Court ruled that it was acquired using proceeds of crime.
Joseph Kinyanjui Wanjiru, who was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail plus a fine of Sh42 million for trafficking in heroine, lost the property in Mirema and another in Ruiru, after Assets Recovery Agency convinced the court to forfeit the house to the state.
High Court Anti-corruption Division Judge Esther Maina said the properties should be forfeited to the state.
“It is my finding that ARA has established, on a balance of probabilities, that the subject assets are proceeds of crime. The Respondent( Joseph Wanjiru) has been unable to reasonably demonstrate to this Court that the funds from legitimate sources of income purchased the subject assets in his name or dissociate the asset from the criminal activity he was convicted of. I therefore find that the subject assets are liable to forfeiture to the State,” ordered the judge in her decision.
The judge dismissed (Kimuri Housing Company limited) arguments that they ceased being the proprietors once it sold them.
The judge noted that the company does not however dispute that the title documents of the property in question were in its possession and directed the company to surrender the documents to ARA.
“Accordingly an order be and is hereby made that the Interested Party(Kimuri Housing Company limited) shall surrender those documents to the Asset Recovery Agency forthwith and in any event not later than 14 days from today,” ruled the Judge Maina.
The agency told the court that Kinyajui was arrested on the 7th December, 2016 at Mathare Drive-In Estate in Ruaraka and subsequent arraignment in court on 14th December, 2016.
He was charged with the offence of trafficking Narcotic Drugs before JKIA court and the agency subsequently commenced investigations to recover proceeds of crime derived from the illegitimate trafficking and trading of narcotic drugs.
The agency told the court that during the arrests, a search was conducted in the residence and a total of 4,857.87 grams of Heroin whose market value was Sh14,573,610 were recovered from the house on Drive-In Estate, in Nairobi County.
On 6th day of August 2019, the ARA received information that Kinyajui acquired assets or properties using the proceeds obtained from the illegitimate trade.
The properties were L.R Ruiru East Block 1 (Githunguri) 1436, Residential House No. 118, L.R No. 7965/89 and Certificate of Title I.R Number 201022 Mirema Drive (Off Thika Road) Roysambu held in his name which are suspected to be proceeds of crime.
The agency investigations revealed the properties are proceeds of crime obtained from the illegitimate trade in Narcotic Drugs contrary to the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances (control) Act no.4 of 1994, Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009.
Investigations further have established that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the properties were obtained through the illegitimate trade in Narcotic drug substances hence proceeds of crime contrary to the provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2009.