Important evidence in land case is missing

Former Nakuru County Deputy Land Registrar Nakuru Madaleine Vugutsa and Moses Njenga in court. [Daniel Chege, Standard]
Crucial documents in a case where a former county official is facing fraud charges cannot be traced.

Former county deputy land registrar Madaleine Vugutsa is charged with fraud, forgery and abuse of office.

On January 18, the case consolidated with that of Moses Njenga.

Vugutsa and Njenga have denied forging documents for land number Njoro/Njoro Block 4/22 (BELBAR), worth Sh18,250,000 and measuring 5.5 acres.

Prosecution had made an application to stand down Nakuru Land registrar Raymond Gitonye, a key witness in the case, to wait for vital documents

Yesterday, Mr Gitonye told Principal Magistrate Bernard Mararo that the documents could not be found.

“We went to our office with the investigative officer and searched for the evidence but we have not found it up to now,” he said.

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Mr Gitonye pleaded with the magistrate to grant him 14 days to look for the evidence and tender it in court.

Required documents

Among the documents he was required to produce were those relating to the procurement for two parcels of land: Njoro/Njoro Block 4/1800 (BELBAR) and Njoro/Njoro Block 4/22 (BELBAR).

He was also supposed to provide green cards, parcel files, presentation books 790 of October 1993 and 67 of 1997 as well as application for land control board and the register.

Prosecutor Bedan Kihara submitted that the registrar was his star witness in the case and required more time to provide all the evidence.

“The witness is critical because the documents he is supposed to produce ascertain the ownership of the land in question,” said Mr Kihara.

He told the court that the accused would not be prejudiced since the case was still fresh.

But defence lawyers Tom Towett for Njenga and his counterpart, Aston Muchela representing Vugutsa, opposed the application by the prosecution.

“We took four clear dates for us to make progress on the case. The prosecution is supposed to present all the evidence before the trial begins,” said Towett.

Muchela urged the court to disallow the application, saying it proved that prosecution was not ready to proceed with the case.

Magistrate Mararo adjourned the case and set May 24 for ruling on the application by prosecution.

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Land caseMadaleine VugutsaMoses NjengaNjoro/Njoro Block 4/22