Killings rock land company, 43 years later
|Shareholders of the troubled Kihiumwiri farm in Gatanga district are all ears during a forum convened by their leaders over the increased insecurity in the area. [PHOTO: BONIFACE GIKANDI/STANDARD]|
SEE ALSO :Firm to assemble phones in UgandaThey are reported to have approached the late President who advised them to obtain a loan from the Agriculture Finance Corporation and they got Sh480,000. The money enabled them to buy 1,280 acres of land which was under coffee. But today, all the founders of the company are long gone. Dead too are the once lucrative coffee plantations the company had invested in. The descendants of those visionary pioneers have inherited nothing but bad blood. A number of them have lost their lives in controversial circumstances after they questioned the way the land had been parcelled out. Our investigations have established that the slaying of directors dates back to August 28, 2000, when the then company’s chairman, Benson Ngumi Job, was slashed to death as he walked to a meeting he was to chair. Prior to this killing, there had been protracted disputes over the actual number of shareholders.
SEE ALSO :More illegal buildings to fall this weekCurrently, the company has 6,000 registered members, with suspicions that the membership could have risen to more than 15,000 as 9,000 are in possession of fake certificates. The membership is torn between Mr Peter Kariuki Macharia and Peter Kimani Kuria, who are both fighting over control of the land presently valued at a billion shillings. Kariuki said he was working towards issuing title deeds to the genuine shareholders to end the wrangles, although his claim to leadership has been contested by the rival camp. He added that the board has worked tirelessly towards issuance of title deeds to the shareholders. He said a vetting exercise was done to ensure no members would be left out, pursuant to a government directive to have all land-buying companies conclude their affairs pending winding up. But Kuria and his allies have disowned the purported vetting of the shareholders where each gave Sh25,500 for clearance between June and July last year. “At no time did I sit in that vetting committee and we instructed our lawyer to oppose any move to collect the money from the public to facilitate the process,” said Kuria.