Mystery deepens over Makenzi's claim to Shakahola forest land

Paul Makenzi at the Shanzu Law Courts on June 2, 2023. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

A company claiming to own the Chakama ranch has denied selling the Shakahola forest land to controversial Pastor Paul Makenzi.

Chakama Ranching Company Limited told Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the Shakahola deaths yesterday that it has never interacted with Makenzi nor sold any portion of the 100,000-acre of land.

There were allegations that the controversial pastor acquired the land where his church stands for Sh100,000. Chakama Ranch’s lawyer, Philip Kaiungi, said directors of the firm were only aware of squatters within the farm and Makenzi is one of them but they did not follow up their activities.

“The parcel of land known as LR.NO.13472/1 Kilifi is registered in the name of our client, Chakama Ranching Company Limited. Further it’s our client’s instructions to inform this committee that the shareholders of the company have neither been party to the activities of the Good News International Church led by Paul Makenzi Nthenge nor acquiesced to the said activities or any form of encroachment on their private property whatsoever,” he said.

The private limited liability company was incorporated on February 11, 1976 with key objectives of carrying out multi-sector agricultural activities, which the lawyer said included dealing in animal produce and livestock breeding.

The firm has 50 shareholders and as at April 18, 2015 the names of the directors were Daniel Kitsayo Baya, Alfred Mukare Mwathethe, Rachael Furaha, Amina Harith, James Mulewa and Dickson Ngowa. In 2007, the government through the settlement fund trustees approached the directors and shareholders with intention of purchasing 50,000 acres of land to settle squatters.

The two sides entered an agreement and the land was subdivided between the ranch and the government leaving 50,000 acres that is now owned by the company.

“By a sale agreement dated May 10, 2007 and signed between the company and the trustees comprising of 34,821 acres and LR. Number 13472/6 comprising of 15,638 acres for a total of Sh108,600,000 which translated to approximately Sh2,172 per acre,” Kiaingi said.

This even as it emerged that the shareholders are no longer in control of the property after the company was put under receivership for non-payment of Sh15 million to a law firm.

It was because of the huge debts that the company was put under receivership by one Mark Gakuru the receiver who is said to be a government official.

Lawyer Diana Mumo, said Gakuru’s responsibility is to ensure the company pays off the debts owed to two creditors. She further said as of now all assets of the company are vested on Gakuru; “A High Court sitting on February 2016 officially constituted a liquidator,” she said.

On how Makenzi moved into the land, the committee heard that there have been squatters in and out of the land and the company had reported the matter to the police but it was never acted upon.

“On August 4, 2021, our clients made a report at Lango Baya police station vide OB no 04/04/08/2021 at 12 pm concerning the encroachment on their private land by squatters. Our clients received verbal assurance that the police would investigate the matter and revert however, that never happened,” said the company’s advocate.

However, the Danson Mungatana-led committee failed to understand where the squatters were during their visit to the land.

“Chair we were there and we toured the farm but never saw even a single squatter perhaps they should take us and show us where they are,” said Senator Shakil Abdalla.

The lawyers however did not disclose whether Makenzi’s church is located on the government or company’s land.

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