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Woman, son in court over Sh595m fraud

By Joackim Bwana | July 16th 2021

Joseph Nyingi Kamau and Monica Wambui Kamau at a Mombasa Court.[Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A mother and her son were yesterday charged with conspiracy to defraud a Mombasa-based oil and gas company of land worth about Sh600 million.

Monica Wambui Kamau and her son Joseph Nyingi Kamau were charged with conspiring to defraud Africa Gas and Oil Company Limited (Agol) of 48 acres of land valued at Sh595 million.

It is alleged that the two on or about September 1992 at unknown place within Kenya jointly with others not before the court conspired to defraud the oil company the said parcel of land.

They are also accused of giving false testimony indicating they had a valid title deed to the said land.

The land is also the subject of another legal dispute in the Court of Appeal between the two accused person who are family of a former deputy mayor, Agol and the State.

Yesterday, the two were accused of committing perjury on August 2, 2013 at High Court of Mombasa in judicial proceeding of a land case between Monica Wambui Kamau, Zachariah Njenga Kamau versus Golden Sparrow Trading Company Limited and the registrar of titles Mombasa. The two were also charged with swearing a false affidavit claiming to be the genuine owners of the said land.

It is alleged that the two on June 20, 2013 at Bank of India Building Treasury Square Mombasa County, before Simon Njoroge, Commissioner of Oaths, they swore a false affidavit.

The two denied the charges before Resident Magistrate Christine Ogweno. They were released on a Sh2 million bond with similar surety.

Lawyer William Wameyo told the court that the accused were arrested and charged because they were trying to stop encroachment into their suit land. He said all the issues raised in the charges against the accused were subject of a pending appeal in the appellate court.

“The facts as intimated in the charge sheet are issues yet to be determined by the Court of Appeal,” said Wameyo.

He said the accused had filed a complaint about an ongoing encroachment on their land but ended up being arrested and arraigned in court with fraud.

State prosecutor Vallerie Ongeti said the matter raised had already been canvassed in the High Court and a ruling delivered.

Ongeti opposed the accused being released on cash bail and urged the court to impose stringent bond terms because of the colossal amount involved.

The accused had in 2013 filed a suit before Justice Charles Yano seeking to stop the encroachment of the said parcel by the government. The accused, representative of the estate of the late James Kamau Thiong’o, sued Golden Sparrow, Trading Company Limited, MJAD Investment Limited, African Gas and Oil Co Limited and The Registrar of Titles.

They told justice Yano that their land was compulsorily acquired by the government following the issuance of gazette notice Nos 737 and 738 dated March 12, 1976 and they wanted quiet possession of the land.

At the High Court Wameyo said Thiong’o was still the registered owner of the disputed land and the title has never been cancelled nor extinguished. However, the counsel for Attorney General, Emmanuel Makuto said the government legally and properly acquired the suit land through a gazette notice dated March 12, 1976. 

Justice Yano in his ruling said the dispute was filed more than 21 years after the death of Thiong’o and more than 13 years after letters of administration in respect to the estate was obtained and 37 years after the suit property was compulsory acquired.

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