Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama escaped jail after paying a fine of Sh1.5 million for defrauding a businessman of his land worth Sh60 million.
The MP and his four co-accused were found guilty of a total of 19 counts of conspiracy to defraud Ahmed Muhammad Nisar of his plot within Nakuru municipality, by faking land registration documents.
Anti-corruption court Senior Principle Magistrate Victor Wakumile ruled that although Arama, lawyer Kennedy Onkoba, and Ministry of Lands officials John Muiri Mwaura, Daniel Nyantika, and Charles Burundi had committed the crime, there was no justification to hand them stiffer penalties.
“The court notes that they had relinquished the land and the property reverted to the owner which means they did not benefit from it. In the circumstances, a fine will be sufficient as opposed to being sentenced to jail,” ruled Wakumile.
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The magistrate ordered that each of the five accused pay a fine of Sh260,000 for each count they were found guilty of, failure to which they serve six months in jail.
Arama was found guilty in six counts which meant his total fine was Sh1,560,000 while lawyer Onkoba escaped with the lowest fine of Sh520,000 after he was found guilty in only two counts.
Both Mwaura and Nyantika were fined a total of Sh1,040,000 each, after being found guilty in four counts while Burundi was fined Sh1,560,000 for six counts.
According to the prosecution, the five accused committed the offences between August 3, 2015, and August 11, 2015, by pretending that they were carrying out a genuine land transfer of plot Nakuru Municipality block 6/95 within Nakuru County to Samuel Otara Arama.
The MP was further accused of making a land sale agreement without lawful authority and purporting that it was signed by Yusuf Mustafa Ratemo.
In addition, the MP was found guilty of wilfully procuring the issuance of a certificate of lease and registration of transfer of lease of the land to himself on August 7, 2015, at the offices of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Nakuru Town.
The prosecution’s case was that the land was initially leased to Modern Distributors in 1996 by the Government of Kenya through consent from the Kenya Railways Corporation which was the registered owner of the property.
The company then sold a portion of the land to the businessman in 2011 but before he could proceed to develop it, the accused persons procured false registration in a bid to defraud him.
Arama and his co-accused in their mitigation told the court that they were remorseful for their actions and asked for leniency on account that they had realised their mistake and returned the title deed to the businessman.
“The court has noted that they are first-time offenders and very remorseful of their actions. The fact that no harm has been occasioned to the complainant after the title was returned shows there is reconciliation which does not justify a custodial jail sentence,” ruled the magistrate.
The magistrate also allowed the five convicts to use the cash bail they deposited for their release as part of the fine.