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Sh2.5b Miwani land ‘fraud’ case stalls for a second time

NEWS
By Harold Odhiambo | Oct 22nd 2018 | 3 min read
By Harold Odhiambo | October 22nd 2018
NEWS
Deserted Miwani Sugar Company in Kisumu County. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

KISUMU, KENYA: The hearing of a case on an alleged fraudulent transfer of a Sh2.5 billion land belonging to Miwani Sugar Company stalled for a second time.

This is after a key witness who was supposed to testify before Chief Magistrate Julius Ngar’ Ngar’ failed to attend Monday proceedings.

Stanley Miriti, a former detective with the anti-graft agency who is one of the two remaining witnesses in the case had been lined up by the prosecution to testify.

The court heard that he was unwell and could not attend the proceedings.

According to Fred Ashimosi, the prosecutor in the case, Miriti was treated for malaria at a hospital in South Kinangop.

He produced a note from Kinangop Clinic indicating that the witnesses is unwell and is suffering from malaria.

In addition, Ashimosi also presented to the court a letter from the Officer Commanding Station at Akara police station as evidence that Miriti was sick.

The defense however questioned if indeed the witness was unwell.

Wesley Gichabi, a defense lawyer, claimed that the prosecutor had told him that he was ready to proceed with the case and wondered why there was change from the part of the prosecution.

“I talked to Ashimosi who told me that he was ready to proceed,” said Gichabi.

The prosecution however said that the witness could not attend the court on Monday.

“He is unwell and therefore he could not attend court,” said Ashimoli.

In the suit, Kibos Sugar Company chairman Sukhwinder Singh Chathe, also a director of Crossley Holdings Ltd, the firm accused of irregularly acquiring the piece of land has been charged alongside former magistrate Abdulkadir Elkindy, Ian Gakoi Mawa, Odongo Philips Katiba, Moses Nyaburo Osewe, Kefa Lumumba Atunga, Epainto Apono Okoyo.

They are alleged to have committed the crime between 2007 and 2008.

On Friday, the case failed to proceed after the lead defence counsel, Richard Onsongo, skipped court.

Gichaba defended his absence saying that Mr Onsongo was on official duty in Lodwar where he was representing the Judiciary in the Court Users Committee.

In April this year, a judge who testified in the case told the court that her signature was used to facilitate the fraudulent transfer.

Justice Olga Sewe said a signature on one of the documents that was purportedly approved when she was still serving as a deputy registrar in 1993 was not hers.

The document was alleged to have been signed during an earlier case at the High Court for the same property.

Two judicial officers who testified then including Justice Sewe, questioned the authenticity of the documents the accused used to facilitate the transfer of the property to M/S Crosselly Holdings Limited.

“I am not the person who signed the document. It has several anomalies including printings which indicate that it was signed in the year 2000 and not 1993 as claimed,” said Justice Sewe said in April.

Onsongo however placed Sewe to task to explain why she was saying the signature did not belong to her while the document did not indicate the person who signed it.

Elkindy is also accused of using his position as deputy registrar in 2000 to issue a notification that an order had been issued by the High Court for the sale of the property.

Another witness, Paul Ombaja who is a judicial officer also denied any knowledge of a case file involving the case existing in 1993 as claimed by Mr Elkindy.

The hearing of the case will continue on November 30.

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