Agency seeks to establish how firms acquired Sh2 billion plots

EACC’s Chief Executive, Twalib Mbarak
The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has reopened investigations to determine how two Mombasa companies acquired three prime pieces of land worth over Sh2 billion using what appears to be forged documents in the twillight hours of former President Mwai Kibaki’s reign.

EACC is interested in solving the puzzle of how three blocks, XVI367,368 and 374 which belonged to Kenya Railways Corporation and had been used as a marshaling yard next to Kenya Railways Station had changed hands.

“They are currently owned by privately owned companies. There has been reports that there were plans to construct a terminal but it has not yet started. Investigations have commenced with a view of recovering the public land,” said EACC’s Chief Executive, Twalib Mbarak. Documents from the Ministry of Lands indicate the controversial plots, Mombasa Block XIV/374 (0.6229 hectares) and Mombasa Block XIV (1.993 hectares) were originally leased out by the Government of Kenya to Mohamed Said Shisay and Privately owned company known as M-tech Building Works Limited. 

Detectives later determined that a third property, Mombasa block XIV368, also originally owned by Kenya Railways is now registered under the name M-Tech Building Works and has been used as collateral for a bank loan. Last June, Kenya Railways prepared a list of 560 which have been irregularly appropriated by well connected individuals and companies, which includes the three prime plots which are situated in Mombasa’s Shimanzi area.

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Earlier in March, the National Lands Commission (NLC) had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directing it on the ownership of a contentious Sh2 billion land in Mombasa city.

In a letter written by the then Vice Chair Abigael Mbagaya, NLC concluded that the two plots - MSA/XIV/367 and MSA/XIV/374 - were property of the Kenya Railways and there had been no transfer to any third party. Attempts by Kenya Railways to repossess the parcels of land since 2018 had been fruitless because line ministry was reluctant to provide documentation to the NLC for determination of the land ownership status. In her letter, ref/NLC/GEN/VOL.II/341, Mbagaya observed: “From our investigations, it is evident the parcels referred to above belong to Kenya Railways Corporation and there is no proof of the said properties having been surrendered to the Government of Kenya.”

Documents seen by the Sunday Standard indicated that the two parcels of land were acquired fraudulently through a forged lease document based on a false order from former President Kibaki, three weeks to the March 4, 2013 General Election.

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Investigations by Kenya Railways and NLC done on the order of the Director of Public Prosecutions found the land belongs to Kenya Railways. A number of sources indicated that some State officials had colluded with land barons to delay repossession of two prime plots.

During the land scam executed in 2011, the perpetrators created an impression that Kenya Railways had surrendered its land in Shimanzi to the government as a condition for the issuance of leases.

SEE ALSO :Suspect faults EACC in graft case

False order

They then forged a certificate of lease which was used to obtain forged titles and then sold the property.

A scrutiny of the documents and investigations by KRC later showed the fake lease certificate bore a bogus signature of an advocate, whose forged stamp was also used.

The controversial lease reads in part: “The President of the Republic of Kenya on behalf of the Government of Kenya in consideration of the sum of Sh810,000 hereby leases to M Tech Building Works, a limited liability company hereinafter called the lessee.” 

One of the parcels measuring 4.8 acres under the control of M Tech Building Works has already been developed while the other, measuring 1.5 acres has been sold for Sh58 million to Gold Hazel Limited.

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Although the findings by investigators had shown there were forgeries, Assets Recovery Agency has not yet issued a restriction on the disputed pieces of land despite despite requests to do so by the NLC and Director of Surveys after the DPP ordered an investigation.

At the disputed property, there are a number of abandoned Kenya Railways wagons for carriage of goods in one of the two plots.

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EACCLand rowNational Land Commission