Nyandarua Speaker, hospital boss charged with fraud and forgery

Rowdy youth outside Nakuru War Memorial Hospital Main Gate on February 7, 2024. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Nyandarua County Assembly Speaker Steve Waiganjo and a director at the disputed War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru County, have been charged with 16 counts of fraud and forgery.

Waiganjo and Malcolm Bell are accused of illegally participating in the alleged fraudulent procurement of an extension of a 25-acre land lease for 50 more years.

The two join Dr Simon Mwangi, Roger Joslyn, Kipkemboi Marindich and two top land administrators, directors Peter Nzuki and Stephen Kihenjo who are facing similar charges.

The latter face over 20 charges of forgery, fraud and falsifying documents. They took a plea on January 24 but denied the charges.

Waiganjo and Bell appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Priscah Nyotah and denied the 16 counts. The court released them on a bond of Sh500,000 with a surety of a similar amount or alternative cash bail of Sh150,000 cash bail.

“The accused persons have a right to bail and they are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. No reason has been advanced before this court to suggest they are a flight risk,” ruled Nyotah.

The two denied they fraudulently procured the extension of the lease for the hospital land on April 7, 2021, at the Ministry of Lands Ardhi House.

They denied that they jointly forged a signature of Robert Otiti in a proposed extension of a lease document on an unknown date, time and place within the republic.

“The accused persons, with intent to defraud and without lawful authority made a proposed extension of lease, purporting it originated from the Ministry of Lands Provincial Surveyor Office Rift Valley,” read another charge they denied.

The speaker and the director are also accused of fraudulently changing the extension of the lease as genuine issued from the surveyor’s office.

Waiganjo and Bell were also accused of forging the signature of Antony Aroni in the proposed extension of the lease document at an unknown place, time and date.

“You are accused of forging the signature of James Michoma, a director of Nakuplan Consultant, in a plan for the proposed extension of lease, with intent to defraud. How do you plead,” asked the court assistant.

Waiganjo and Bell denied the charge. They also rubbished the claim they fraudulently made a plan of the proposed lease extension from Nakuplan Consultants, without authority.

“The accused persons further uttered the forged plan from Nakuplan Consultants as a genuine issue from Nakuplan, knowing it was not true,” read another count.

The 11th count was forging the signature of Keter Kipkemoi for notification of approval of development permission on the land and claimed the same originated from Nakuru Municipal Council.

They are said to have made the notification of the approval document without authority.

“The accused persons also forged an official search for business registration service on April 13, 2021, claiming the same was issued from Business Registration Service,” court documents read.

Bell is further accused of forging two official receipts, on March 17, 2023, purporting they originated from the county government of Nakuru. Dr Mwangi, Joslyn and Marindich are out on Sh1 million cash bail, while Nzuki and Kihenjo, who face one charge, are out on a Sh 300,000 cash bail. The seven will now appear before Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Juma on February 28, 2024, for pre-trial directions.