Former NLC vice chair Mbagaya testifies in Sh944 million land case

Former National Lands Commission Vice Chairperson Abigail Mbagaya at Milimani Law Courts on September 4, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Former National Land Commission (NLC) vice chair Abigail Mbagaya has told the court a disputed parcel of land worth Sh944 million located in Nairobi's Donholm estate belongs to a private firm. 

Mbagaya who was being cross-examined by defense lawyer George Gilbert before Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina said the criminal case in which a former Kayole chief and three other people are charged with land fraud, belongs to Gidjoy Investment Ltd.

Asked whether she knew for a fact if the land in question belongs to Gidjoy Investment Ltd, the complainant, Mbagaya affirmed that the suit property belongs to the investment firm.

"Yes the land belongs to Gidjoy from what I can remember. I received some documents during NLC hearing in 2016 before we were stopped by the court," she said.

However, Mbagaya told court that no determination was made by NLC on the ownership dispute bought before it.

Mbagaya who also was the chair of the review of grants committee of the commission, revealed that the NLC received a complaint from Nairobi county government to review the legality and propriety that the piece of land in question was public land.

She added that the commission through the committee invited parties to appear before it on January 14, 2016, to make a presentation on how they acquired the pieces of land.

"The commission listened to Gidjoy investment, county government of Nairobi, Sowesava self-help group and other groups," said Mbagaya.

In a witness statement, she told court that she later learned that her former boss and chairman Mohammed Swazuri had made a decision on some property through Gazette Notice of November 18, 2018.

"When it was brought to my attention that the chairman had gazetted the determination despite the fact that the matter was actively before Court, and the commission stood to be charged with contempt. I proceeded to reverse the illegal decision of the chairman and stated the correct position of the commission that the matter was in court,” she said.

She further clarified that there was a correction made through of a corrigendum on the Kenya Gazette dated February 15,2019, cancelling the determination of the commission on the dispute surrounding the gazette notice dated November 9, 2018.

In the matter, four officials of the Sowesava self-help group are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud Gidjoy Investment Limited the 11.8 acres of land worth Sh944 million. 

Those charged are former chief Alexander Hoops, Peter Gitau Muiruri, Peter Njoroge Kanika, and Patrobas Awino.

They are accused of conspiring to defraud the said company the property by pretending that they had genuine title deed issued and signed by land registrar Rosemary Anyango Ngong’a.

The offense allegedly occurred on or about November 28, 2001 jointly with others who were not before the court.

The four are also accused of forging letter of allotment and a lease with intent to defraud the said company the said piece of land. 

They also face a charge of forging a title deed that was signed by Anyango on unknown dates jointly with others not before court.

The court heard that they also forged another lease purporting to be a genuine document, signed, stamped and executed by Ng’arua Kamuya Ng’arua advocate.