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Granny, 95, targeted in fake death land fraud speaks out

By Kamau Njoroge | October 14th 2019
The granny (C) with her daughters at the Ruiru Lands Registry. [Kamau Njoroge]

Ruth Njeri Mutema, the 95-year-old granny who had her death faked in a scheme to grab her two parcels of land, now wants the government to revoke all title deeds that have been processed for her land.

Njeri, who spoke after presenting her documents to the Ruiru Lands Registry, said that she has learnt that one of her two parcels, measuring one acre each, has been sub-divided into plots and eight title deeds processed for the plots.

She said that she never sold her land to anyone and accused the man purporting to have bought the land from her of faking her death and forging sale documents as well as land ownership documents for the two parcels situated in Murera area, Juja constituency.

“I have presented all my documents to the lands offices that prove that I am the legitimate owner of the two parcels o land and also to register with them that I am alive contrary to reports that I had passed on,” Njeri said.

“I have high hopes that I will get assistance from the land officers and the Ministry of Lands so that I can get back my land which I toiled and moiled hard for, for many years,” the granny added.

The granny, who was a member of the Nyakinyua Group, recounted how she used to contribute money to the group from the early 1970s together with her late husband Peter Mutema for the two parcels namely Ruiru/Ruiru East Block 2/3780 and 3791.

She still possesses the original title deed for parcel No 3780 that was issued to her on August 26, 1988. But according to documents including a sale agreement seen by Mt Kenya star, Njeri allegedly sold both parcels to one Stephen Wainaina for Sh95,000 back in 1999.

The matter has also been handled by the Ruiru Lands Disputes Tribunal which recommended to the court to transfer the land parcels to Wainaina. The tribunal led by Chairman J K Kaigua and members J K Mbugua, Allan Njoroge, Teresia Thang’wa and Peris Gachomba made their decision on September 6, 2006.

“Having heard all the evidence presented by both sides including documents, this is the unanimous decision of the tribunal: the tribunal recommends to the honourable court to order Thiak District Land Registrar to delete the name of Ruth Njeri Mutema from Titles Ruiru/ Ruiru East Block 2/3780 and Ruiru/Ruiru East Block 2/3791 and insert the names of Stephen Wainaina Kimani as it has been proved that he is the rightful owner of the above parcels,” reads part of the tribunals decision.

“On 3rd July 1999 Ruth Njeri Mutema sold the two parcels within ballot No 1863 to Stephen Wainaina (the complainant) and the sale agreement was signed before their Advocate Kariuki & Co. Advocates…” states a part of the tribunal’s decision. A decree was issued by the then Thika Senior Resident Magistrate F.M Nyakundi on August 31, 2007, awarding Wainaina the two parcels.

Wainaina who obtained the land through the court decree according to court documents later sold the two parcels and transferred them to one George Karuku. Karuku has already sub-divided one parcel into plots.

But Njeri has vehemently denied selling any of her two parcels and only divulged that she obtained the money from Wainaina to settle a hospital bill after her husband, Peter Mutema, was admitted in hospital and later passed on. She said that she will head to court to seek her justice and have her land given back to her.

She called on the government through the Ministry of Lands headed by Farida Karoney and the National Land Commission to intervene and have the titles revoked so that she can get back her land. “It’s only God and the government who will help me defeat the grabber. I plead with the Lands Minister to help me get back my land while I’m still alive,” Njeri said.

The elderly persons have been the prime targets by notorious land grabbers in the region who defraud them of their land after processing sham ownership documents. A land clinic organized by the Lands Ministry in Ruiru is seeking to solve such disputes and help legitimate owners retain their land parcels.

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