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Four avoid arrest in Koinange estate case

COUNTIES
By Paul Ogemba | June 27th 2019
Kandara MP Alice Wahome addressing the media at Parliament.

Four lawyers accused of misappropriating Sh284 million from Mbiyu Koinange’s estate will not be arrested and charged.

High Court Judge Weldon Korir yesterday ruled that the four - Alice Wahome, who is also the Kandara MP, Evans Monari, Justry Nyaberi and Beatrice Kariuki - had made a strong case to warrant halting their prosecution pending a determination of the dispute.

And in a separate case involving the distribution of Koinange’s multi-billion-shilling estate, Justice Aggrey Muchelule ordered one of Koinange’s daughters to deposit in court within 14 days the title deed of a 35-acre parcel of land she had allocated to herself.

Justice Muchelule ruled that Lennah Koinange did not have the consent of all the estate’s administrators when she hived off the land from the estate and assumed ownership.

“Although the administrators and the other beneficiaries knew that she had developed and was residing in the hived-off property, the dispute was that she caused the parcel to be transferred to her name without a court order or consent of all the parties."

The judge ruled that the sub-division leading to Lennah owning land was not done in accordance with the law. He said the land should revert to its original status so that it can be considered when the court makes a final determination on distributing Koinange’s wealth.

Final ruling

Although the other beneficiaries challenged Lennah’s occupation of the land, she had told the court that she took it to protect her late mother's residence, adding that she would be content if the court allowed her to retain the land when it made its final ruling.

On the dispute relating to the four lawyers, Justice Korir agreed with their submissions that the Director of Public Prosecution was in a hurry to prosecute them without hearing their side of the story.

“I am satisfied that the applicants have a case and in the interim, the court issues an order stopping their arrest and prosecution. However, the Director of Criminal Investigations is at liberty to continue investigating the matter,” he ruled.

The lawyers had sought to stop their arrest over the alleged theft of Sh284 million from Koinange’s estate, arguing that one of Koinange’s widows, Eddah Wanjiru, made false claims to the police that they misappropriated funds and inflated figures to depict them as dishonest advocates.

The dispute relates to the controversial sale of 100 acres of Koinange’s Closeburn Estate to Centum Investments Ltd for Sh1.1 billion in 2010.

Some of Koinange’s beneficiaries, including Lennah, had opposed the land’s sale because they were in occupation but they were forcefully evicted through a court order which had sanctioned the sale.

Ms Wanjiru complained to the police that the lawyers had misappropriated funds from the land's sale that they held in their account.

But the four argued that the DCI’s recommendation to the DPP to charge them was illegal, saying that because the matter involved advocates, it should have been referred to the lawyers’ disciplinary committee.

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