Lands CS Wahome wades into prime property ownership dispute

Lands CS Alice Wahome leading an intergovernmental joint effort to restore grabbed land at Upperhill in Nairobi county on May 31, 2024. [Nicholas Biwott, Standard]

Lands Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome has been caught up in a storm over ownership of Sh600 million land in Nairobi.

This is after the CS wrote to a commercial bank warning that it may have relied on an ‘illegal’ title to advance a Sh308 million loan to Hassan Yussuf Abdille.

The 0.27 hectares land is located at the junction of 4th Ngong Avenue and Bishops Road in Nairobi.

The property registered as Nairobi Block 27/508 (formerly L.R No. 209/18572 and No. 209/508 I.R 5670), is being claimed by Yussuf and International Homes Limited.

On May 23, 2024, Wahome wrote to the bank’s Chief Executive Officer alleging the existence of a forged title that was used by Yussuf to secure the loan. The CS, separately asked Directorate of Investigations (DCI) boss Mohamed Amin to investigate the matter.

The CS claims that records in the Lands Ministry show that the property belongs to International Homes Limited and it has never been transferred to Yussuf.

“I have thoroughly gone through our records, inspected the documents availed to us including the original title to the property, the searches thereon and come to the observation that the company having never embarked on conversion of its title and having never surrendered the original for the said purpose, it is not practically possible for the converted title to come out in the name of Hassan Yussuf Abdille,” stated the CS in the letter.

She explained that certain procedures are followed whenever conversion of a title is undertaken, and from their internal investigations, there is no evidence of transfer of the property to Yussuf.

“The totality of the foregoing is that there is possibility of serious fraud culminating into the alleged title and whose sole aim was to further perpetuate even more serious illegalities inter alia obtaining credit facilities fraudulently,” the CS claimed.

Meanwhile, the Chief Land Registrar has placed a restriction on Yussuf’s title forbidding any transactions. The ministry launched a probe after International Homes Limited filed a complaint over the ‘illegal’ acquisition of its property.

“We have further noted that that the search availed by the company to our offices shows that there were alleged borrowings taken against the alleged title from various financial institutions including your ban, which now appears to hold the security,” said Wahome. 

However, Yussuf through his lawyer Victor Rapando, has written to the DCI boss demanding investigation of the Lands CS over alleged conflict of interest, aiding fraud and abuse of office.

In the letter delivered at DCI headquarters on June 5, 2024, Yussuf is questioning Wahome’s powers to determine ownership of disputed land.

“It’s outrageous that a whole Cabinet Secretary would conclude that a party’s land ownership document as illegitimate and at the same time purport that a concerned party that has been condemned unheard has been summoned to present his version of facts,” said Rapando in the letter.

Yussuf claimed that the CS is siding with International Homes Limited to defraud and deprive him of ownership of the property.

He insisted that he is the legit owner of the land having bought it from Mohamed Ibrahim Abdulah who acquired the same from Ahamed Mian Abdur Mohamed Hussin, Imran Mohamed Salim Ibrahim and Iram Shahzad Ibrahim.

“Our client further invites your office to investigate the conduct of the Cabinet Secretary and her office and establish her culpability relative to the complaint of abuse of office, fraud, unlawful deprivation of private and conflict of interest, which we hereby lodge,” Rapando said.

Yussuf maintained that he legally bought the land on June 5, 2023, before charging the land to a bank, which was later discharged on February 23, 2024. He would on March 25, 2024, charge the parcel to another bank where he secured the Sh308 million loan.