MPs want fresh Karen land audit

MPs have recommended that a forensic audit be carried out to ascertain the validity of the alleged transfer and ownership of a Sh8 billion parcel of land in Karen to a Mr John Mugo Kamau.

Recommendations of the Land and Housing Committee are expected to be adopted Monday by the committee and tabled before the House on Thursday.

They also demand that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigates all documents relating to the disputed 134-acre parcel that is also at the centre of a court battle between Muchanga Investments and Telesource.com Limited.

Former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo is associated with Telesource.com and claims to own the land which he allegedly bought from Mr Kamau.

Muchanga, associated with businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose, says it owns the land. Muchanga has also sued Jina Enterprises, Habenga Limited, Director of Physical Planning, Director of Survey and the Chief Land Registrar.

NO CORROBORATING RECORDS

A sub-committee of the Land and Housing Committee chaired by Mr John Kihagi prepared the report. The members are Mr George Oner, Mr Francis Nderitu, Mr Eusilah Ngeny, Ms Shakila Abdalla and Mr Onesmus Ngunjiri.

According to the report, there are no records at the Land Ministry to show that Muchanga Investments owns the property. Nor are there any records showing the transfer of the land to Mr Kamau.

“Entries have been made in the title for the transfers, but the ministry has not provided supporting documents, that is, sale agreement and the actual transfer to prove the transfers to John Mugo Kamau. Other documents missing are evaluation sheets for the land in 2005,” the report points out in part.

On the Muchanga records, the committee says the only records the ministry has are affidavits from the court.

“What the ministry has are court reports served and filed as supporting documents to Muchanga’s petition. The ministry is unable to prove Muchanga’s ownership of the land. Only a provisional sale agreement between Muchanga and Barclays Bank is available.

The certificate of title by Muchanga LR no 37285 does not correspond to any LR number in the ministry registry,” the report continues.

INTERROGATING DOCUMENTS
Three weeks ago, the High Court enjoined Mr Kamau and Barclays Bank in the case which is before Lady Justice Nyambura Gacheru.

According to court documents, Muchanga Investments wants Barclays, who were trustees, to show whether they ever dealt with Mr Kamau.

“There is no evidence that Barclays Bank transferred the land to John Mugo Kamau in their capacity as trustees under the will of Mr Arnold Bradley,” says Mr Da Gama Rose in an affidavit signed on November 4.

According to an affidavit sworn on behalf of the Land Ministry, Mr Geoffrey Swanya Birundu says records show that the parcel was sold to Telesource.com by Mr Kamau.

The parliamentary sub-committee report says members relied on Mr Birundu and Mr Odanyiro Wamukhoya to help them interrogate the documents. The MPs sat in three sessions.

Curiously, Mr Birundu, who is the deputy chief of the Land Registrar Survey, swore the above affidavit in court while Mr Odanyiro is a technical adviser and personal assistant to Land Secretary Charity Ngilu.

Mr Da Gama Rose says there are no transfer documents accompanying Mr Birundu’s affidavit.

“The instrument purporting transferring the suit property to John Kamau has not been provided. This transfer instrument ought to have been prepared and attested to by a practising advocate.

NO EVIDENCE

Similarly, there is no evidence of the purported transfer from Mr Kamau to Telesource.com Limited,” says the affidavit sworn in London where Mr Da Gama Rose is undergoing medical treatment.

Last month, the Sunday Nation reported that at least 40 MPs and top Jubilee government officials could have benefited from the alleged land grab.

The report says the land was allocated in 1919 to GB Norman for 999 years.

“This was registered as parcel number 46 which was later surveyed and given LR no 3586 measuring 160 acres. The property was later sold to Arnold Bradley in 1928. In 1935, Bradley requested to sub-divide the land. In 1942, the land was sub divided to create R no 3581/1.

One hundred and forty acres remained under Mr Bradley,” says the report.

It also says Mr Bradley attempted to transfer the land in 1957 as freehold. Its directors were Bradley himself, Ms Sarah Jeanette and Ms Annette Therese Knight.

“Consent was given for the transfer but there is no evidence on the mother title that the land was ever transferred,” says the report.

The committee also says that in 1959 there was an attempt to sublease the land to Motion Pictures Production, which according to the document, was not approved by the Nairobi Urban Council and the land remained under Mr Bradley.

According to the document, Mr Kamau came into the picture in 1976.

“There was a notice of intention to acquire the land by government vide gazette notice 908 for LR 3586/1 and LR 3586/R (92) which was later withdrawn. Mr Mugo wrote to the Commissioner of Land claiming beneficiary interest as a purchaser and advising the commissioner to only deal with him on the matter of compensation,” says the report.

100 PIECES TRANSFERED

The report says the bank acquired the land in 1978 through probate as executors of Mr Bradley’s will.

However, the sub-committee members say Mr Bradley ceased to appear in the correspondence from 1974 when he is alleged to have transferred the land to Mr Kamau.

“The last correspondence is a letter of consent for the sale and transfer to Mr John Mugo Kamau dated July 22, 1974. His will was registered as a probate on March 2, 1978,” says the report.

The documents say the land was then held by Mr Kamau between 1978 to 2005 when it was allegedly transferred to Telesource.com on October 17, 2014 at Sh96 million.

According to the documents, Telesource.com has since sub-divided the land into 189 plots which were going for Sh20 million each. But the sub-committee notes that no details of the current transferees or survey documents have been provided.

“About 100 pieces have been transferred. A number have been sold to third parties,” says the report.

The report says up to 1978, title documents submitted by Muchanga and Telesource.com show the same entries on the original title for Mr Bradley.

This article was published by the SUNDAY NATION on Dec 7, 2014