Muthama, top politicians face charges over Malili deal
The land was sold to the Information and Communications ministry for the development of Konza technology city.
The fate of Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua and seven others over claims of fraud in the sale now depends on the findings of ongoing investigations led by lawyer Paul Muite.
The senior counsel was instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, to review the recommendations of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation into who should be prosecuted or spared.
On Sunday, Mr Muite said investigations were focusing on the people with the highest responsibility.
He said an interim report he had prepared had recommended further investigations and CID officers have been sent to Malili to record statements from more witnesses.
“The final report is expected to be forwarded to the DPP by August 15,” Mr Muite said.
DECLINED TO NAME
Although he confirmed that he was going to recommend the prosecution of a number of people, he declined to name those likely to be recommended for prosecution.
“I don’t want to tell you that we will charge so and so, because that would jeopardise our investigations, but the truth is some people will be charged and it will be those with highest responsibility,” he said.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations in April asked the DPP to arrest and prosecute Mr Muthama and Mr Mutua among others, saying it had obtained evidence linking them to fraud and forgery in the transaction.
Former Information and Communications permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo, Commission on Implementation of the Constitution member Kamotho Waiganjo, Mr James Waweru, formerly of the Attorney-General’s office, and former Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea were on the list. The others were Mr Peter Mutua Kanyi, Mr Julius Maweu Kilonzo and Mr Alphonce Munene Mutinda, a lawyer.
The recommendations followed investigations into alleged misappropriation of Sh1 billion paid by the Government for the 5,000 acres for the proposed technology city.
Mr Tobiko in May said he wanted Mr Muite to advise his office on whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspects or any other person named in the inquiry file. He also asked Mr Muite to conduct the prosecution on behalf of DPP.
Mr Muite was supposed to scrutinise the police records, witness and suspects’ statements and all documentary evidence before making recommendations to the DPP.
A farmer who is among those who lodged complaints with the police over the deal said that they were not paid the amount spelt out in the sale agreement.
‘WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR BALANCE’
The farmer, who cannot be named due to the ongoing investigations, said each of the Malili Ranch Ltd members was allocated 7.8 acres and they expected to be paid Sh1.56 million.
“We instead received Sh 1.1 million and we have been asking questions what happened to our balance of Sh460,000 but nobody has told us anything,” he said.
He said the 5,000 acres sold to the government belonged to 605 Malili Ranch Ltd members although the entire ranch was over 22,000 acres and belonged to 2,345 members.
Any other land that was not part of the 7.8 acres allocated to members was set aside for public amenities that included schools, hospitals, churches and police stations among others.
He said the land was allocated to members in June and July 2006 before it was sold to the Government in June and July 2009.
On Sunday, Dr Ndemo confirmed that the Government bought each acre for Sh200,000.
“Although I did not know the members who owned the 5,000 acres because we were dealing with the ranch, I later learnt that they were 605 members,” he said.
Mr Mutua, who acted for Malili Ranch Ltd, did not respond to our phone calls or SMS questions.