13 June 2012

Kenyan Living in U.S. Regains Land After 2005 Fraud

Nairobi, Kenya — A Kenyan residing in the United States has won back his land in the plush Nyari estate worth more than Sh27 million after it was fraudulently sold to a company by an individual who forged his identity card and the title.

Elias Rwigi Thuo is now in court to purge a case he had filed to win his land back after officials at Ardhi House cancelled the fake title after ascertaining that it was indeed forged.

Thuo bought the land in 2001 at a price of Sh2.7 million and later learnt that the land was sold for a much lower price to the company by a fraudster.

He only learnt of the dealings after the fraudster used his postal address to open a bank account where the transaction money was paid.

Thuo then went to court but the process was protracted causing him undue distress. Several visits to Kenya eventually bore fruit after he acquired the land back recently.

In documents lodged in court, Thuo says he took possession of the property but did not immediately develop it as he was working in the US.

In May 2005 his brother James Wachiuri noticed that unknown people had encroached on the land in question.

He later made a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department and requested investigations be launched to expose the fraudsters, and the Registrar of Lands placed a restriction of transaction on the property.

Thuo later told Capital FM News that getting back his land was evidence that the new Constitution is working, "since no one can take away what is rightfully yours."

"I have been struggling to get back my land. It's been agonising since I was unable to develop it for the last six years," he said.

There have been many cases of fraud where Kenyans in the Diaspora buy property locally and only to find it in the illegal possession of fraudsters in collusion with officials from the Ministry of Lands.

"I am grateful that this matter has now been concluded thanks to the new Constitution and the new Land Reform Act. Kenyans in the Diaspora can now bring back their money and invest in the country, my case is the testimony," Thuo said when he was applying to withdraw the case he had filed against the Principal Registrar of the Land, the AG and Vistas Limited who had purchased the land from the fraudster.

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