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DPP orders probe into proposed auction of 66,000 acres Giriama Ranch

By Maureen Ongala | Published Wed, August 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 7th 2018 at 23:49 GMT +3
Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire leades Bamba residents in a peaceful demonstration to protest against the sale of the 66,000 acres Giriama ranch by its Directors. [Maureen Ongala/Standard]

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has ordered investigations to establish circumstances leading to planned auction of the expansive Giriama Ranch in Bamba, Ganze sub-county.

The ranch is set for sale by auction to recover a loan owed to a bank.

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The bank advanced Sh250 million loan to a firm which secured the money using the ranch's title deed.

The auction, which was set to take place on Monday, was suspended by a High Court order last week.

Thousands of squatters on the ranch, which they claim is community land, now fear eviction.

In a letter dated July 28 to the Director Asset Recovery and Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, the DPP ordered the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to conduct investigations within 21 days.

On July 24, the MP launched a complaint at the Kilifi DCI after it came to light that Giriama ranch was to be auctioned by African Development Bank to recover a Sh285 million debt owed by Riva Oils Company Ltd that used provisional title deed to secure the loan.

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In a letter to the County Criminal Investigation Officer Said Mohamed, the DPP demanded the directors of Riva Oils Company Ltd, who include a former minister, be charged with fraud and theft of public property.

He also wanted the ranch to be discharged from the bank loan and forthwith surrendered to the owners and also investigations on the African Development Bank for allowing a fraudulent charge and the Land Registrar for processing a provisional title deed to be used illegally.

The DPP also called for investigations on the Registrar of Companies for allowing substitution of genuine directors of Giriama ranch with fake ones.

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Speaking to The Standard on phone, Baya applauded the DPP for the quick response on the matter.

“We expect the criminals in this biggest land scandal to be apprehended. The land must be reverted to the community and we have confidence that this will be achieved,” said Baya.

Already three injunctions have been filed in relation to the matter. The petitions have been filed in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi.

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