Kenya: Itumbi Seeks Private Prosecution Nod to Try Matiangi Over Ruaraka Land Deal

20 November 2020

Nairobi — A former State House digital communications director has filed an application in court seeking approval to mount a private criminal prosecution against Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi over a Sh1.5bn land transaction in Ruaraka.

Itumbi, in papers filed before a Nairobi Chief Magistrates Court, asked to be granted authority for a private prosecution citing unwillingness by the public prosecutor to do so.

"Demonstrable grounds exist for believing that a grave social evil is being allowed to flourish unchecked because of the inaction of a pusillanimous Director of Public Prosecution and Office of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission who are guilty of a capricious, corrupt or biased failure to prosecute the 1st Respondent," he stated in an affidavit filed on Wednesday.

In his 193-page application, Itumbi also cited a decision in which a three-judge bench of the High Court established the compulsory acquisition of the land on which two schools sit fell short of public purpose since the land was public property.

He sought to prosecute Matiangi, who was then Education Cabinet Secretary, for abuse of office, wilful failure to comply with the law on management of public funds, financial misconduct and conspiracy to defraud.

In their ruling in June 2019, Justices Bernard Eboso, Elijah Obaga and Kossy Bo had also faulted the National Land Commission (NLC) for advising the education ministry to proceed with the acquisition of a 13.77-acre parcel in Ruaraka.

"We find that the compulsory land acquisition should not have happened in the first place. One cannot compulsory acquire what is an already public land," ruled Justice Obaga.

Two companies belonging to a renowned businessman Francis Muburu - Afrison Export Import Limited and Huelands Limited - had filed a claim with NLC over the compulsory acquisition of the land without compensation, prompting the suit.

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