21 May 2012

Kenya: MP Zonga Released On Bond in Land Fraud Case

Msambweni MP Omar Zonga yesterday denied two counts of corruption charges leveled against him before a Mombasa court. Zonga, together with seven others, were charged with conspiracy to defraud and obtaining registration by false pretence. He was last week arrested by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and later released on a personal bond of Sh500,000.

The legislator was said to have jointly conspired to defraud Dignified Holdings its parcel of land in Diani, Kwale county between September 1998 and October 2006. He was also accused of procuring the registration of a part development plan, an allotment letter and a certificate of lease for the land number Kwale/Diani Beach Block/151. The land was registered in the name if Dignified Holdings.

Zonga, dressed in a white kanzu and an Islamic cap, appeared calm before magistrate Joyce Gandani. His bid to be released on a free bond was rejected. "My client is an MP and his whereabouts are always known," said his lawyer Salome Otunga. But Gandani said Zonga would only be released on a Sh5 million bond with the hearing set for July 30.

Said Kabangi, who was charged alongside Zonga, failed to appear before court. His lawyer, Koli, said he only learnt of the charges in the papers. Kabangi, through his lawyer, asked the court to give him 14 days to appear in court as he sought some clarification on the matter.

But Gandani rejected the application saying the man stays in Mombasa and therefore should appear in court on Wednesday to take plea. The EACC was represented by lawyer Philip Kagucia. Others charged alongside the two include Jotham Chea, Raia Mkungu, Said Ndege, Rama Mwaurinda, Hilmi Ahmed, Haji Fumo Farouk and Ali Mwakulonda.

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