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Parallel probes into Sh8b Karen land saga

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | October 20th 2014

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are now undertaking parallel investigations into the controversial Sh8 billion Karen land fraud.

The land fraud unit of the CID has in the past months been investigating the case after the owner of the 134-acre land, Horatius Da Gama Rose, complained it had been invaded.

And last Tuesday, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu invited EACC to investigate and identify the real owner of the land.

CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro confirmed detectives were handling the matter.

"After the complaint was lodged, we started investigations and so far a number of people, including officials from the Ministry of Lands, have recorded their statements with the officers handling it," said Mr Muhoro.

Deputy Chief Lands Registrar Geoffrey Swanya Birundu appeared at the CID offices last Tuesday, only a day after he had sworn an affidavit that was filed in the High Court showing Jos Konzolo's Telesource.Com is the legitimate proprietor of the land having obtained it from John Mugo Kamau on October 21, 2005.

In a letter to EACC chairman Matemu Mumo, Ngilu said her attention was drawn to media reports and a letter from lawyer Cecil Miller claiming illegal occupants had invaded the disputed land, which is subject to an ongoing case.

"These reports from the media and the law firm cast a very dark shadow on the working of the ministry and land transactions at large. There are allegations of impropriety and unlawful activities. Following these reports, and with a view of establishing the true ownership of this land, I invite your team to undertake a thorough investigation into the matter," Ngilu's letter to Matemu read.

This created more confusion into the saga after EACC summoned CORD leaders to give them information on what they know on the issue.

Other sources said the Director of Public Prosecution is likely to order that both EACC and CID form a joint team to investigate the saga.

The probe comes at a time when the High Court has issued orders stopping any development in the disputed land.

The 134-acre land is at the centre of ownership row pitting businessman Da Gama Rose and former NSSF managing trustee Jos Konzolo.

Sources said officials of National Land Commission officials were yesterday expected to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta for a briefing on the land. The commission has insisted the land belongs to Da Gama Rose.

Last week, lawyer Cecil Miller wrote to Ngilu protesting that her Personal Assistant Mary Ndunga and Nairobi County AP Commandant Francis Mburu instructed police officers and unknown people to forcefully take over the prime land in Nairobi's Karen area in spite a court order stopping the acquisition.

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