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DPP seeks agency for details on grabbing of Railway land

By Cyrus Ombati and Geoffrey Mosoku | September 5th 2018

Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samson Cherargei(C) chat with Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji(R) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti after the Committee meeting with Multi-Agency on Corruption at Parliament on Wednesday 29/0818. [Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Investigations into the grabbing of Kenya Railway (KR) land worth Sh1.5 billion in Shimanzi, Mombasa, are at an advanced stage.

The probe ordered by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is almost complete and suspects could soon be charged.

Yesterday, The Standard established that DPP Noordin Haji’s office had written to the National Land Commission (NLC) seeking all documentation on two blocks of land.

The letter dated September 3 asks the commission to forward all necessary documents and NLC’s recommendation on the status of the plots. A Coast-based maize miller is already occupying one of the parcels.

“Please forward with immediate effect all the documents, reports and recommendations of the National Land Commission to this office,” the letter signed by Japheth Isaboke on behalf of Mr Haji read in part.

The alleged land grabbing was uncovered in December last year by an anonymous whistle blower who wrote to the DPP, who then ordered the police to commence investigations.

“In line with the Constitution, I hereby direct that you commence investigations on the allegations immediately and once an inquiry file is complete, please forward the same to this office for further directions,” Senior Assistant DPP Alex Muteti wrote to OCPD Railways on December 21, 2017.

Informed DPP

Kenya Railways had informed the DPP that the plots, one measuring 4.8 acres and another 1.5 acres, belonged to the public and that it had not surrendered them.

“This is to confirm that the above mentioned properties fall within a railway reserve area as highlighted. Kenya Railways has no record of the area ever being surrendered to the Government,” KR Managing Director Atanas Maina, who is now suspended, wrote to the DPP on February 14.

Documents from the Ministry of Lands that are part of materials the detectives are studying point to possible collusion between individuals and top ministry officials to transfer the land.

Last month, The Standard reported that in a well-orchestrated scheme that took place over three years from 2011, individuals created an impression that Kenya Railways had surrendered its land in Shimanzi to the Government as a condition for issuance of leases.

Investigators suspect a lease document was forged using a false order from retired President Mwai Kibaki to steal the multi-million shilling property three weeks to the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Forged titles

They then forged a certificate of lease that was used to obtain forged titles before selling the property.

The fake lease certificate had a forged signature belonging to advocate Sammy Ruwa. It showed that it was signed on March 15, 2011.

The grabbers also created the impression that the order to lease the land had been given by Mr Kibaki.

“The President of the Republic of Kenya on behalf of the Government of Kenya in consideration of the sum of Sh810,000 hereby leases to (name withheld), a limited liability company hereinafter called the lessee,” reads the forged lease certificate.

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