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EACC goes after Valley Road car bazaar land arguing its grabbed

NAIROBI
By Kamau Muthoni | August 31st 2021
Car yard along Ngong Road, Nairobi. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has moved to court seeking to repossess a piece of land worth Sh 500 million along Valley Road, Nairobi.

The commission has sued the former city commission of Nairobi  Habib Omar Kongo and former director of planning and architecture in the defunct City Council of Nairobi  Kuria Gathoni and his wife Rose Wambui over 1-acre land opposite Department of Defense, along Valley Road, Nairobi.

In the case, the anti-graft agency argues that Kongo, who is also known as Daniel Kongo and Kuria illegally facilitated the latter's wife to change ownership of land sandwiched between Silver Springs Hotel and AEA Plaza from the defunct city council to her name.

It argues that the contested land ought to have housed city council employees but it is now a car yard, Valley Road Motors.

“The third defendant (Wambui) discreetly solicited for transfer and registration of the subject property while knowing it to be land set aside for public utility through a grant to the City Council of Nairobi with no evidence of payment. The third defendant knowingly and dishonestly acquired the subject property to the detriment of the public for which use it was reserved,” EACC’s court papers filed in the Environment and Land Court, Nairobi reads in part.

The land measured 1.09 acres. EACC’s lawyer Faith Ng’ethe argues that it was registered as a city council property on November 17, 1964.

According to the agency, the property could not have changed hands without the then local government minister authorizing the same.

At the same time, it argues that there is no evidence that the city council sat and made a resolution to turn the land from a public utility to private land.

“The purported transfer of the subject property was done without the consent of the Minister for Local Government contrary to section 144 of the Local Government Act Cap 265 Laws of Kenya (now repealed),” court papers continue.

 It alleges that Wambui got the land simply because she was Kuria’s wife. EACC argues that this was a conflict of interest as Kuria was a city council employee.

The contested land was transferred on July 30, 1992, in favor of Wambui for a period of 99 years.

Court papers continue, “ The second defendant (Kuria) dishonestly failed to disclose to the commissioner of Lands the fact that the third defendant ( Wambui) was his wife as he made a recommendation for transfer of the subject property to her.”

 The commission is of the view that Wambui has set up a car bazaar and used the same property to secure a loan taken from Consolidated Bank of Kenya.

It claims that it unearthed in 2012 that the contested land was a public property after investigations.

“The fraud and illegality in the process of transfer of the subject property were not discovered until an investigation undertaken by the plaintiff in 2012. This claim vindicates public interest in the suit property,” EACC argues.

It is now seeking to compel Wambui to surrender the land and pay the government all profits she has accrued from using the property since 1992. The commission is also seeking damages for the alleged fraud.

 “The fraud and illegality in the process of transfer of the subject property were not discovered until an investigation undertaken by the plaintiff in 2012. This claim vindicates public interest in the suit property,” EACC argues.

It is now seeking to compel Wambui to surrender the land and pay the government all profits she has accrued from using the property since 1992. The commission is also seeking damages for the alleged fraud.

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