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ELECTION 2022

Trader ordered to refund State Sh8m from cemetery land scam

NATIONAL
By Paul Ogemba | Jan 28th 2022 | 2 min read

A businessman has been ordered to refund the government Sh8 million he received from the cemetery land saga that involved the defunct Nairobi City Council (NCC) in 2008.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi yesterday ruled that Stephen Kamau Githinji illegally benefited from the irregular purchase of the cemetery land at an inflated cost of Sh283 million.

“There is no dispute that he received Sh8 million from the cemetery land which he used to purchase fuel for his petrol station. Evidence shows the money was received through fraudulent means, which he must reimburse to the government,” ruled Mumbi.

According to the judge, Githinji could not explain how he received the money from the city council, which made the court believe they were proceeds of corruption.

The suit against Githinji was filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which claimed he was one of the businessmen who benefited from the controversial purchase of the land in Mavoko, Machakos County.

EACC, in its submissions, argued the scandal began on December 19, 2008, when one Henry Musyoki Kilonzi entered into a sale agreement with a company called Naen Rech Ltd for the purchase of the land at a cost of Sh110 million.

The commission claimed that on the same day, NCC also entered into an unlawful agreement for the purchase of the same land from Kilonzi at an inflated cost of Sh283 million.

“The commission established that the land was not suitable for a cemetery and that the purported buying price was exaggerated. It was established that the entire transaction, leading to the purchase was a fraudulent scheme to steal public funds,” said EACC.

The commission claimed that out of the money that was paid to Kilonzi, a substantial amount was paid to several people, one of them being Githinji, who pocketed the Sh8 million.

Githinji, in his defence, admitted in court that he received the money but he had no knowledge that it was proceeds from the controversial purchase of the cemetery land.

He said he received the money from one Alex Musee as a loan to expand his business without knowing that it was proceeds of corruption.

Justice Ngugi however dismissed his claims, ruling there was no evidence he received the money as a loan from Muthee.

 

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