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EACC saves Sh2 billion UoN land from grabber

The Sh2 billion property belonging to the University of Nairobi./ COURTESY

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has rescued a Sh2 billion property belonging to the University of Nairobi from a private developer.

The developer, Abardares Engineering Contractors Limited, had laid claim to the 4.97 acres in Kilimani, Nairobi.

The university’s staff estate stands on the parcel, which is located at the junction of Argwings Kodhek and Galana roads.

An investigation conducted by the anti-graft agency after a complaint by the university in 2015 showed that the developer forged documents to claim the property.

According to the investigation report, Alfred Mwangi and his partner, whose name was withheld because he passed on, are listed as the company’s directors.

It states that Mwangi and his partner forged an allotment letter, deed plan and title deed and proceeded to sue the university to vacate the property.

“A complaint was received by the commission that the parcel belonging to the university has been grabbed and allocated to the company,” says the report.

Related: State officers face lifestyle audit as EACC moves to recover stolen public wealth
Upon completion of the probe, the commission filed a suit on August 8, 2016, for recovery of the property.

Two months later, on October 15 and 24, Abardares Engineering Contractors Limited filed a defence, where it emerged that the firm had in 2011 instituted a suit in the Environment and Land Court, seeking to kick out the university.

The EACC applied for consolidation of the cases and proceedings taken out in ELC No 955 of 2016 before Justice Samson Okong’o.

Before the case could be concluded, and perhaps on realising he was destined to lose the case, Mwangi, through Munga Kibanga & Co Advocates, wrote to the commission on March 26, 2018, seeking to have the matter settled out of court.

The commission responded on June 27, 2018, requesting for a formal meeting to agree on the terms of the out of court settlement.

On July 16, 2018, the advocate forwarded the proposal to the commission, stating that his client had agreed to drop the civil case against the university and also forfeit the property.

“Taking into account the fact that cases in courts have a tendency of dragging on for an inordinate long period, the commission being cognisant on the spirit of the Constitution of settling disputes by alternative dispute resolution, agreed to the request,” reads the report.

The parties signed a consent before Justice Okong’o on July 17, 2018, and were given two months to settle the matter out of court.

The parties, together with representatives of the university and two prosecuting officers from ODPP, met on November 13, 2018, and agreed to resolve the matter out of court.

“Following consultative meetings, the commission, DPP, University of Nairobi and Aberdares Engineering Contractors Limited, the matter was resolved and consent recorded in court bestowing the land as the property of University of Nairobi,” reads the investigations report.

The report, which the commission’s new chief executive Twalib Mbarak will present to the university management and DPP Noordin Haji tomorrow, has been exclusively obtained by the Star.

The company claimed to have been issued with the title of the land in 1998 for a lease term of 99 years by the officials in the Ministry of Lands.

The document, which the Star has seen, was stamped by the department of lands on September 10, 2009 and allegedly signed by register of titles Mburu Ng’ang’a. Commissioner of Lands Zablon Mabea allegedly witnessed the issuance of the title.

Prior to the issuance of the title, Abardares Engineering Contractors Limited, had allegedly obtained an allotment letter on October 25, 1994, from the government and paid Sh1.3 million.

The document is signed by G.K. Somba-Kivalya on behalf of the commissioner of lands. He had been issued with a deed plan, Number 153382, allegedly by director of surveys on January 23, 1991.

But investigations revealed that none of the documents the developer produced to claim the land was genuine.

The number appearing on the deed plan, for instance, was established to be that of a quarter-acre plot in South C, Nairobi.

The stamps and signatures appearing on the documents were also established to have all been forged.

The report shows that the land is registered in the name of University College Nairobi Council. The institution acquired the property from Kettles-Roy Tysons for Sh200,000 in 1964.

“The parcel was registered vide an indenture as presentation No. 36, volume N32, Folio 18/4 on July 1, 1964,” the report reads.

According to the commission’s annual report of activities and financial statements for 2017-18, the agency recovered Sh352,185,804 worth of illegally acquired assets during the year.

Source: Star

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