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Want your title deed? Then produce Muite, magistrate orders trader

By | November 5th 2010
By | November 5th 2010

By Wahome Thuku

A Nairobi businessman is pleading with the court to help him produce former Kabete MP Paul Muite in a criminal case.

Mr Kimani Rugendo said Muite had refused to voluntarily appear before the Nairobi Chief Magistrate, as a condition for the businessman to get back his title deed that has been held by the court for 17 years.

Rugendo, also a politician, deposited the title deed of his land worth Sh4 million to have Muite released in 1999 after being charged with stealing Sh31 million.

Muite was charged on July 23, 1999 with six counts of stealing the money from Mwana, Mwireri, Rironi and Naivasha Farmers Company. He was charged in his capacity as chairman of a private company Athi Holdings.

The offences are said to have been committed between December 1992 and December 1993. He is also charged that in the alternative, he obtained the money through fraud.

Immediately Muite took the plea, Rugendo deposited the land documents and stood as surety to secure Muite’s release. Muite wrote back thanking him for coming to his rescue.

The criminal proceedings were, however, suspended by the High Court in 2002 after Muite filed a constitutional application challenging the trial. The case was then caught up by various changes in the judiciary including the removal of the then chief justice Bernard Chunga and other judges and it has virtually stalled.

When the criminal case was mentioned before chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei in October this year, Muite’s lawyer Evans Ondieki said his client was held up in Nakuru where he was attending peace and reconciliation meetings. He said the orders suspending the trial were still in force.

Rugendo through his lawyer Kabue Thumi said he wanted back the title deed because he needed to develop the land.

Mutembei directed him to produce Muite in court in exchange for the document. In that case Muite would be required to execute another bond or cash bail or be locked up in remand.

Yesterday, lawyer Kabue said they had tried all means to get Muite to court but the former MP, who is an advocate of the High Court, had refused to turn up.

Kabue pleaded with the court to issue summons, which Rugendo would personally serve on Muite.

"All our efforts to avail Muite in court had come to naught and that is why we are asking you to help us," the lawyer said.

Lawyer Ondieki, however, denied the allegations saying Kabue was only dramatising the case.

Ondieki said his client was not aware of yesterday’s mention date and that he had no problem substituting the bond with a cash bail.

The magistrate stopped short of issuing the summons saying Ondieki would communicate to Muite that he was needed in court. The case will be mentioned again on November 29.






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