Two charged over Sh54 billion ILRI land fraud

One of the biggest land fraud cases of recent times, worth Sh54 billion, may have just started at Milimani court and without multitudes of land-hungry Kenyans getting a whiff of it.

Before this, Kapiti Plains Estate Limited, a company owned by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), had pulled out all the stops to ward off Kenyans against being lured into buying their expansive Machakos land to no avail.

A press statement by Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in October last year did not help either.

And neither did a caveat emptor published by Kapiti later that month. Multitudes continued to arrive at the plains armed with allotment letters.

Last Friday, as the exodus to the plains continued, two people, a man and a woman, were in the dock to answer to the alleged Sh54 billion fraud.

Muthiani Mwangangi and Everlyn Mbithe stood pensively as the charges against them were read.

“On or before January 20, 2017, at unknown place in the Republic of Kenya, jointly with others not before the court, you conspired to defraud Kapiti Plains Estate Limited of its parcel of land worth Sh 54.8 billion,” the charges read.

The duo was also charged with other counts of fraud including making a false allotment letter in the name of New Konza Ranch Association.

And after making the allotment letters, the court heard that the two went ahead to sell the piece of land to several unsuspecting buyers.

In terms of the particulars, the court heard that the pair allegedly defrauded Michael Kivuvo of Sh100, 000 by falsely purporting to sell him a plot named as number seven in the Konza South block.

“On or before September 28, 2010, at unknown place within Nairobi County, with an intent to defraud, made a false document namely letter of allotment of 12614/111/122 dated August 23, 1994 for the land parcel No Konza block 7374/5 in the name of New Konza Ranch Association purporting it to be genuine letter of allotment issued by the Commissioner of Lands,” the charges also read.

The two were also charged with obtaining money by false pretense.

It was claimed that they falsely obtained Sh350, 000 from Veronicah Mwikali to sell her the same piece of land.

Buy land

It was also alleged that other victims - Makau Mutisya, Macharia Karanja, Muthusi Mulei, James Kariuki, Lydiah Wangari, Ezekiel Musau also parted with between Sh100, 000 and Sh 200,000 to buy land but got nothing.

They faced a total 10 charges. They denied the charges and were released on a Sh1 million bond or a Sh500,000 cash bail.

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Everlyn MbitheMuthiani MwangangiDirector of Public Prosecutions