The Star (Nairobi)

26 April 2014

Kenya: CID Wants Muthama, Ndemo Prosecuted

THE CID wants Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama charged over the allegedly fraudulent sale of Malili Ranch land for Konza city.

The Criminal Investigation Department also wants former Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo charged for abuse of office along with Lands Secretary Zablon Mabea and James Waweru, formerly of the Attorney General's office.

In 2009 government bought the 5,000 acres for Sh1 billion to build the Konza Techno City.

The police want Muthama and five others prosecuted for fraud, obtaining money by false pretence, making a document without authority, and stealing. The other five are Commission for Implementation of the Constitution commissioner Kamotho Waiganjo; Law Society of Kenya Chairman Eric Kyalo Mutua; Peter Mutua Kanyi and Julius Kilonzo, former chairman and secretary of the Malili Ranch Limited respectively; and lawyer Alphonse Munene Mutinda.

"I have nothing to fear because I am not a criminal. Only criminals should fear," Muthama told the Star in an interview when he appeared at CID.

Ndemo has previously maintained that the deal was above board saying that the land was bought through competitive bidding.

"The Cabinet had authorised us to buy 10,000 acres but following valuation by the Ministry of Lands that put the price per acre at Sh200,000 we settled for 5,000 acres which were purchased through a competitive tender," he said.

The CID wrote to Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko on April 22 asking for direction on the matter.

"Investigations carried out have established that transaction was not above board as it was shrouded by fraud and due diligence was not exercised by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication when the whole process was being undertaken," the CID wrote to Tobiko.

According to the CID, three Malili directors offered the land for sale without the consent of the shareholders and were the key beneficiaries. They say Kilonzo received Sh87.3 million, Kanyi received Sh83.9 million while Josiah Manuki received Sh28 million.

Mutua was the "mastermind the whole scam" according to the police and could not account for Sh14.5 million in his account and various other payments.

Mutua "irregularly paid Sh147.6 million for plots that were not inside LR. NO. 9118/3 that was amalgamated and sold to the government," the letter to the DPP said.

Muthama is accused of holding a special AGM on November 29, 2009 where Kamotho Waiganjo replaced Mutua as the lawyer.

Muthama allegedly initiated the changes at Malili Ranch so that its officials "could heed to his instructions."

"While using the opportunity of new office bearers Mr Eric Mutua and Hon. Muthama spearheaded preparations of several false minutes of a board of directors which were all signed December 14, 2009," said the CID.

"The forged resolutions ", according to the CID, "were prepared in advance and directors forced to sign all of them at the home of Hon Johnston Muthama under duress."

The four Mailili directors told police that they "were kept in the dark earlier about the sale" and "were not party to the sale transaction."

The CID said that Ndemo abused his office by representing a letter offer to Malili Ranch before the search at the Registrar of Lands had been conducted.

They also accused the former PS of disregarding the instructions of the Solicitor General for the draft sale agreement and the percentage of money to be paid in advance.

Last May, 66 former shareholders complained to the CID that they had not been paid after the government took possession of Malili.

The land was bought for Sh1 billion but the initial deposit was Sh400 million, more than the normal 10 percent.

Construction of Konza Techno City will cost Sh1.2 trillion and started last December.

The technopolis will host business outsourcing, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools, and health facilities.

It is a key driver of Vision 2030 and President Mwai Kibaki broke the ground on January 23, 2013.

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