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Nairobi court faults State for denying women's group Sh4b estate

By Fred Makana | July 8th 2015

KENYA: A Nairobi court has criticised government officers for frustrating a women's group whose Sh4 billion housing estate has been taken over by police.

Senior Principal Magistrate Esther Nduva lashed at the Office of the President for not assisting Mitumba Women Group whose 600 housing units have been taken by police.

Ms Nduva said the women's group has a judgment delivered by Justice Joseph Nyamu, declaring them the genuine owners of Westview Park Estate near Wilson Airport.

While acquitting Cecilia Wanjiru Gichuru, who had been charged with forgery over the property dispute, the magistrate said the group was allocated the land in 1990 and assisted to get a donor to develop the estate by the late Internal Security Permanent Secretary Hezekiah Oyugi.

Ms Gichuru had also stated in her defence that the group was allocated the plot by retired President Daniel Moi in 1990 under the name Mitumba Women Group and also had a valid judgement indicating they were genuine owners of the plot and the houses occupied by police.

"Instead of addressing the issue, the Government is using the criminal justice process to frustrate and silence the accused person. The best evidence and proof of forgery is by a document analyst establishing that any deposed signature or handwriting is that of the accused persons," said the magistrate

Nduva said instead of State officers assisting members of the group to peacefully enjoy their property, they have over the years been filing criminal charges against officials of the group.

She dismissed 12 charges of forgery filed against Gichuru and a deceased Secretary General of the group Evalyne Atieno Onyango. The two had been charged on allegations of forging a letter of the Attorney General, purporting it to be the genuine one issued by Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani on December 10, 2009.

Both Gichuru and Onyango had also been accused of forging another letter and sending it to former Gender Minister Esther Murugi and Victor Okioma, a PS in the office of the President.

"I find the charges against the accused persons have not been proved to the required standard in all the 12 counts. As a result, I acquit the accused persons for lack of sufficient evidence as required by law," Nduva said.

Nduva also noted that the prosecution failed to show the court the accused persons used to make the said documents.

"The accused persons' signatures and specimen were not taken for analysis to determine whether they were the ones who forged the signatures of the leaders referred in the case," she said.

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