Trader dismisses Karen land documents

Businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose has dismissed documents tabled by a company claiming ownership of the disputed Karen land as forgeries.

In a sworn statement, Rose says it cannot be possible for Telesource.com to have bought the land from John Kamau and obtained the transfer in October 2005.

This is because the seller had died three years earlier. He says there is no evidence that Kamau or Telesource.com paid rent for the land.

Telesource, associated with former NSSF managing trustee Jos Konzolo, alleges that Kamau executed the transfer on October 17, 2005.

However, Rose says the death certificate shows Kamau died on April 27, 2002.

Rose, through his company Muchanga Ltd, is battling with Telesource.com, Jina Enterprises and Habenga Holdings over the land estimated at Sh8 billion. The land led to the suspension and subsequent charging of former CS Charity Ngilu.

When the parties appeared before Justice Lucy Gacheru yesterday, they were given 30 days to respond to the new claims by Rose.

The businessman says he bought the land from Barclays Bank, which was the trustee for Arnold Bradley and the executor of the will. He moved to court in 2014 accusing unknown people of grabbing the 134 acres and planning to subdivide it.

Muchanga Ltd, through lawyer Cecil Miller said the bank transferred the land to it in December 1982 for Sh1.2 million. Rose tabled letters showing how the land was transferred to him.

This article was published by THE STAR newspaper on June 8

Detectives grill former NBK bosses for eight hours for banking malpractices

Four former National Bank of Kenya (NBK) top managers were yesterday questioned by police over claims of banking malpractices.

This came as senators criticised the closure of Chase Bank. Chase Bank’s Group Managing Director Duncan Kabui and Chairman Zafrullah Khan were also quizzed by the detectives for the second time in three days. The managers, who were accompanied by their lawyer Cecil Miller, left the Directorate of Criminal Investigations after nine hours.

The former NBK officials were led by lawyer Paul Muite when they presented themselves before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations as directed by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Sacked NBK Managing Director Munir Ahmed, chief finance officer Chris Kisire, chief credit officer George Jaba, and acting chief finance officer Wycliffe Kivunira spent more than eight hours with the detectives answering questions regarding lending while in office. Former National Bank Managing Director Munir Sheikh Ahmed speaks during the official opening of the Kericho branch.

The bank made a loss of Sh1.2 billion in the last financial year. Police are investigating claims of bad practices that could have contributed to the losses. Sources said they all denied any wrongdoing. Officials said ICT director Mohammed Abdalla and executive director Boniface Biko were away but promised to present themselves later.

Their identification documents, including passports, were confiscated by police. Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Ndegwa Muhoro said they were still talking to various parties in the case before they decide on possible charges to be preferred, if any.

“This is a long process that is progressing well. We have opened investigation files and it will take time to know the way forward because there are many other people to talk to,” he said. And the Senate Finance Committee yesterday criticised the “speedy action” by Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge to shut down the troubled Chase Bank.

The committee said the decisive move, plus the closure in the past of two other banks – Dubai and Imperial Banks – had occasioned more harm to the innocent depositors, as opposed to the institution’s directors who should be punished. Committee Chairman Billow Kerrow, who is also the Mandera senator, said that when a financial institution is going under, the Central Bank should first focus on the interests of depositors, who are always at risk of losing their savings in the event of a closure.

Inasmuch as the bank directors have a responsibility as well the management to ensure safety and custody and always be responsible for the losses, we are concerned that the CBK Governor has acted in a hasty and irrational manner,” said Kerrow.

Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe accused Njoroge of overreacting, saying while directors of the bank should be punished for poor insider-lending regime, it did not necessarily mean that Chase Bank should have been closed.

“The Governor should not be using a Bazooka to kill a fly. He is overreacting. We are wondering whether his action was taken in the best interest of depositors. We know what happens in this country when a bank is closed,” said Kagwe.

Kerrow said the closure of the three banks had led to withholding of over Sh150 billion of depositors’ money, which had a big impact on the stability of the economy. The senators further urged the CBK Governor to probe possible connivance between regulatory officials and Chase Bank management, saying the irregularities cannot have been without the knowledge of some elements in CBK.

“CBK is not a scarecrow in a maize field. It is supposed to provide cushion to depositors,” said Machakos Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.

Kilonzo proposed that while the criminal process against managers and directors responsible for the mess was ongoing, the State should attach their properties to ensure they do not flee. Kilonzo said it was questionable that the Chase Bank mess was not detected earlier, adding that former Governor Andrew Mulei had installed a comprehensive system to flag anomalies.

“Kenyans paid dearly for this system that is supposed to do trouble-shoot in the banking industry. It can only be that some people within CBK are conniving with those keen on looting depositors’ funds and we need to see these elements punished,” he said. Senate Majority Whip Beatrice Elachi questioned how auditors had given banks clean bills of health only for them to go under in a matter of months.

“There has to be a collusion that also ropes in auditors, otherwise how does such a mess happen when auditors had given such a clean bill on the financial institution?” she posed. On Friday, Boinnet issued arrest orders against two Chase Bank managers and six senior managers at the equally troubled National Bank after they all defied an order to surrender themselves to the police.

Mr Boinnet had ordered the arrests, accusing the managers of engaging in unethical conduct, including illegal lending to themselves and to their cronies in disregard of all guidelines. “I have, therefore, ordered the immediate arrest of the following persons, or in lieu, they must present themselves to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters by 3.30pm today (Friday).”

Zafrullah and Kabui spent the better part of Saturday at DCI headquarters. Chase Bank was placed under receivership last Thursday.

This article was published by the STANDARD on April 12, 2016

Sh8 billion Karen land under dispute has three titles

A court has ruled that the 134 acre farm in Karen area which has been the subject of a sharp ownership court dispute has three title deeds in existence.

However Lady Justice Lucy Nyambura Gacheru said she “cannot rule with certainty who of the three claimants has the genuine title.”

Justice Gacheru said the claimants holding titles for the Sh8 billion land are Muchanga Investments Limited, Telesource Limited and a widow of a former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner the late John Mburu.

TRUE OWNER

She said for the court to determine the true owner of the farmer all the three parties must be given an opportunity to lead evidence to show how they acquired their title deeds.

The judge directed Muchanga Investments Limited, which is being defended by lawyer Cecil Miller and Peter Wena, not to sell or transfer the land to any third party until the case it filed in court is heard and determined.

Mr Miller obtained orders restraining anybody or company from interfering with the parcel of land saying, Muchanga Investments Limited acquired the land legally from Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited in 1983.

“The bank was the executor of a will of the original owner of the land Mr Arnold Bradley,” evidence tendered in court stated.

POLICE GUARD

Justice Gacheru ordered the Officer Commanding Langata Police Division (OCPD) to post officers on the land to “ensure that no activity is carried out in the disputed land.”

In its suit, Muchanga Investments Limited named Habenga Holdings Limited, Jina Enterprise Limited, Telesource Limited, Ministry of Lands & Housing, Director of Physical Planning Ministry of Lands & Housing, Registrar of Titles, Chief Lands Registrar.

Mr John Mugo Kamau applied to be enjoined in the case alongside Ms Carmelina Mburu, wife of the late PC John Mburu.

The judge noted in her ruling that each of the three claimants maintain they are the bonafide owners of the land.

Carmelina Mburu, 81, through lawyer Albert Kuloba told the judge the land belonged to her late husband who had a lease hold period of 999 years.

Telesource Limited, through lawyer Stephen Gikara, said it bought the land from Mr Mburu who alleged he acquired the land in 1978.

Muchanga Investments Limited through its director Horatius Da Gama Rose explained that it bought the land by Barclays bank which was the sole executor of the will of Mr Bradley.

EVIDENCE OF ACQUISITION

After finding that there are three titles in dispute, the judge directed all the parties to file evidence of acquisition.

“This case will be mentioned on June 6, 2016 for further directions,” Justice Gacheru.

Meanwhile she directed the status quo to be maintained and directed police to keep vigil on the land and ensure no body interferes with it.

This article was published by NAIROBI NEWS on March 30, 2016

Court declines to suspend Michael Kamau’s graft case

A magistrate has declined to allow further delay in the hearing of a corruption case facing suspended Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau.

Lawyers had requested the suspension of the trial to await the outcome of a petition he lodged, alongside his personal assistant, challenging the legality of their prosecution.

The magistrate on Monday instead directed that all parties prepare for the start of the trial in seven days, as “there is no active order as yet stopping the progress of the case.”

Mr Kamau’s lawyer had asked that an adjournment be granted to await the outcome of the petition at the High Court.

In the case, the suspended CS is charged with wilful failure to comply with government financial regulations.

This is in relation to the design of the Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia road, which led to a massive embezzlement of funds by a phantom contractor.

Mr Cecil Miller also made a similar request on behalf of Mr Gilbert Arasa, who was Mr Kamau’s personal assistant and is the fifth suspect in the case.

The lawyer wanted the court to reconvene not later than November 12, when an indication on the ruling on the pending petition may be ready at the High Court.

However, other suspects, through their lawyers, said they were ready for proceedings, though the sixth suspect claimed not to have been given copies of the prosecution’s case to “prepare a proper defence”.

It was on this allegation that Monday’s proceedings were called off and the prosecution directed to supply the documents before the hearing begins.

REQUEST FOR DELAY

A prosecutor said two witnesses were ready to proceed and asked the presiding magistrate, Mr Lawrence Mugambi, to reject the request for a delay.

“It is not proper to speculate on the outcome of the petition before the High Court; we had set a hearing date on the basis that in case the appeal is dismissed all parties should be ready to proceed,” Mr Alloys Kemo said.

The magistrate concurred and reaffirmed the urgency with which the Chief Justice ordered all anti-corruption cases to be heard and dispensed with.

He also said that copies of evidence must equally be provided for defence teams to prepare adequately.

Mr Mugambi further directed that the prosecution supply the necessary documents within seven days and set a mention for November 5 for “confirmation of compliance and fixing of a hearing date”.

In the case, the CS and the other eight suspects, all public servants, are accused of disregarding designs prepared by M/S Engiconsult Limited and preparing their own, which led to the embezzlement of Sh33 million by one M/S Kundan Singh Construction Limited.

The multiple offences facing the suspects include the presentation of false documents and were allegedly committed between November 2007 and March 2008.

This article was published by the DAILY NATION on October 26, 2015

Graft case against CS Kamau for next month

A Nairobi court yesterday ordered the corruption case to proceed against suspended Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau and seven other government officials.

Kamau faces five charges of abuse of office and irregular use of public funds.

Trial magistrate Lawrence Mugambi issued the order after rejecting an application for adjournment by defence lawyers led by Cecil Miller.

The case had been scheduled for hearing yesterday.

But the defence lawyers said their clients filed a petition in the High Court, which will be heard on November 12.

They wanted the trial stopped pending the outcome of the petition.

Senior assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Alloys Kemboi opposed the application, saying no restraining orders have been obtained by defence.

He said the prosecution is ready.

This article was published by the STAR NEWSPAPER on October 27, 2015

Muchanga Investment solely owns Karen land, says Miller

Muchanga Investment Ltd yesterday maintained it solely owns the Karen land.

Lawyer Cecil Miller said Barclays Bank confirmed in court it transferred in 1983 the title deed for the 134.4 acres to the company, owned by tycoon Horatius Da Gama Rose.

Making submissions before Justice Lucy Nyambura, Miller said the bank’s senior legal officer Waweru Mathenge confirmed records available in the bank identifies Rose as the one they dealt with.

He said Mathenge told the court the bank held the title deed for 10 years when a borrower, Da Gama Rose Investments, was repaying a loan of Sh10.5 million.

The legal officer said in the title deed he did not see any other company except Da Gama Roses’.

During cross examination, Mathenge told Miller there must have been a link between the borrower and the company which has secured the loan.

The hearing continues on October 30.

This article was published by THE STAR newspaper on October 12, 2015

Cecil H.E Miller mentioned at Kenya, Guyana talks in New York

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta used his visit to New York attend the 70th anniversary of the United Nations to rally support from Caribbean countries to change an International Criminal Court (ICC) rule at the upcoming November meeting of the Assembly of State Parties.

As part of this effort, he met with Guyana’s President David Granger and Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday, and on Monday also held bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

At issue is Rule 68, which was adopted with assurances that it would not be applied retrospectively to the detriment of Kenyans facing charges at the ICC. However, the legal instrument is being applied in a case facing Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

After his meeting with Granger, Uhuru said, “I sought his support for Kenya’s push to amend an International Criminal Court rule at the next Assembly of State Parties.”

During his meeting with Caribbean leaders, Uhuru Kenyatta recalled his country’s close ties with the Caribbean.

“Kenya has had deep links with Caribbean countries over the course of her history, including the fact that Kenya’s first chief justice, Cecil Henry Ethelwood Miller, was a native of Guyana. The international legal team that defended founding President Jomo Kenyatta when he was jailed during the independence struggle was assembled by Jamaican lawyer Dudley Thompson,” he noted.

Kenyatta promised to renew historical ties with the Caribbean, which he admitted were not sustained after independence.

“We resolved that Kenya will renew its historical links with Caribbean countries, that were not sustained after independence, to enhance trade and people relations,” he said.

Kenyatta has given his foreign affairs minister, Amina Mohamed, a mandate to renew and expand diplomatic ties with the Caribbean.

During his meeting with Granger, Kenyatta offered Kenya’s support for Guyana in the border dispute with Venezuela.

The leaders of Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines all assured President Kenyatta that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will stand with Kenya in this matter.

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said, “We have an opportunity to build on the foundations set by our founding leaders.”

Browne also announced the removal of visas for Kenyans wishing to visit Antigua and Barbuda, and more CARICOM countries are expected to do the same.

“We promise you of the support of Antigua and Barbuda as well as the whole of CARICOM countries,” he said.

This article was published by CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW! on September 30, 2015

Mbaru sucked into Karen land saga

Investment banker Jimnah Mbaru has been sucked into the controversial Karen land battles over two contradicting statements he issued to investigators.

Mr Mbaru’s statements to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission complicates the court case involving the 134-acre prime land in Nairobi, which is at the centre of a protracted court battle between companies associated with businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose, former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo and Ms Carmelina Mburu.

Last year, influential individuals were said to have grabbed parts of the land despite a court order.

It was Mr Da Gama Rose who brought Mr Mbaru into the limelight through his statement to the DCI in July 2014, claiming that the businessman was his nominee when acquiring the land in a twist that could lengthen the court’s quest to determine the real owners of the land are.

“The sale agreement to the land was done between Barclays Bank International Ltd as personal representatives of Arnold Bradley and Jimnah Mwangi Mbaru as my nominee. He was my nominee as I was going to be out of the country,” said Mr Da Gama Rose.

SALE AGREEMENT
To support the claims, there was a sale agreement dated December 1977 between Barclays Bank and Mr Mbaru showing the paid land price of Sh1,250,000 via three cheques drawn by numbers NS/AB 349947, NS/AB 389880, NS/AB, 401411.

In a different statement, this time to EACC investigators, court documents show, Mr Da Gama Rose paid for the land in one instalment.

And when Mr Mbaru recorded his statement with the DCI on November 20, 2014, he confirmed the name appearing on the sale agreement was his but that he could not remember transacting in the land as a nominee since the document did not bare his signature and that the address was not his.

“I would however state that I knew Mr Da Gama Rose as an advocate in the early 1970s. But I recall that in January 1978, I left Kenya for Switzerland for studies where I was until January 1979,” said Mr Mbaru.

But in another contradictory statement Mr Mbaru gave to the EACC on April 19, 2015, he confirms that he signed the sale agreement with Barclays Bank to purchase the Karen land.

“I did not finally purchase this property in my name but in the name of my assignee Gama Rose or his company,” stated Mbaru.

EIGHT DEFENDANTS
Mr Da Gama Rose, through his company Muchanga Investments Limited, argued in his claim for the land that he bought it from Barclays Bank for Sh1.2 million.

At the time, the bank was holding the land in trust for its original owner, Arnold Bradley.

Muchanga went to court and has named eight defendants, asking that they be restrained from interfering with its property pending hearing and determination of the case.

But the Barclays’ head of legal affairs Waweru Mathenge claimed on Wednesday that the only records in their possession show the land was transferred in January 1983 but not to Muchanga Limited Company.

“We do not have any record showing that Barclays Bank sold the land to Muchanga Limited or when it was sold so I am unable to confirm the land was transferred to the company.

The only records we have showed the transactions were completed in 1983 but I do not know to whom,” said Mr Mathenge.

However, in a sworn affidavit before the court, dated December 9, 2014 bank official says the land was sold to Da Gama Rose (Investment) limited.

SAME OWNER
The affidavit sworn on behalf of Barclays Bank as an interested party says that the process of transferring the property and payment for legal fees has been completed as at January 31, 1983 ‘and the file closed on our end’.

According to an affidavit drawn by Iseme Kamau and Maema Advocates the property appears against an entry record recorded on September 21, 1983 in the securities journal.

The name of the customer is indicated as Da Gama Rose (investment) limited.

Court documents show that Da Gama Rose (Investments) limited and Muchanga limited are owned by the same person.

In court on Wednesday, Mr Mathenge confirmed that it was true Mr Bradley had left his estates to be managed by the bank and that they only have records of transferring 4-acres of land to Mr Bradley’s daughter Annette Bradley as per his will.

Mr Mathenge’s testimony that they have no records of who the land was transferred to also puts into question claims by Mr Konzolo’s company Telesource.com Limited claims that they bought the land from one John Mugo Kamau into question.

Also cast in the centre of the dispute was Ms Carmelina Mburu, who claimed the land belonged to her late husband, former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner John Mburu, and that at no time did her husband transfer it to anybody.

DOUDBTED SALE AGREEMENT
Mr Konzolo had sworn that he bought the land from Mr Kamau who allegedly had acquired the land from Mr Bradley, but the bank said they had no records of ever dealing with Mr Kamau in relation to the land.

Mr Da Gama Rose had also disputed Mr Kamau’s ownership of the title, claiming that there was no document showing how he acquired the land or who sold it to him.

Mr Da Gama Rose had indicated in his statement to the DCI that he made payments for purchase of the land through his account held by Barclays Bank but a statement from the bank’s official indicated that the account did not exist.

“I have checked in our system for account number 1404494 and confirm that the account does not exist and even if the account exists and was now docile it still could show on our systems and as such we have no information to give on it,” said Mr Ken Wambugu, a bank official stationed at its investigations branch in his statement to the DCI.

He also doubted the alleged sale agreement between the bank and Mr Jimnah Mbaru, stating that it could not be a genuine document because the bank could not transact on plain paper since the document named a sale agreement does not have a Barclays letterhead.

IMPROPER CHARGES
The DCI investigative report on the Karen land is what Mr Konzolo used to challenge his prosecution — which is separate from the ongoing ownership dispute — over the Karen land, with the ruling scheduled for October 30.

Mr Konzolo was charged alongside senior ministry of Lands officials, including the Cabinet Charity Ngilu.

The others are Sara Njuhi Mwenda, Geoffrey Swanya Birundi, Pauline Wanjiku Gatimu, Mark Muigai Wanderi, Macmilan Mutinda Mutiso and James Mbaluka.

According to the former NSSF boss, the charges preferred against them were improper, misadvised and illegal since the Director of Criminal Investigations had cleared him of any criminality in acquiring the land.

This article was published by the SUNDAY NATION on October 4, 2015

Kenya seeks support of Caribbean countries on ICC

NEW YORK, United States, Sep 28 — President Uhuru Kenyatta held bilateral meetings with leaders from two Caribbean nations to seek their support for Kenya’s push to amend a controversial International Criminal Court rule at the next Assembly of State Parties in November.

The President held meetings with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne and the President of Guyana, David Granger.

In both meetings, President Kenyatta was assured of the support of Caribbean nations for Kenya’s interests on the international platform.

Kenya wants the Assembly of State Parties to revisit a rule which was introduced during its 12th session concerning testimony recanted by witnesses.

The controversial Rule 68 was adopted with an assurance that, just like any other legal instrument, it will not be applied retrospectively to the disadvantage of Kenyans facing cases at the ICC.

The rule has now been applied in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

In both bilateral meetings, President Kenyatta and the other leaders resolved that Kenya will renew its historical links with Caribbean countries, that were not sustained after independence, to enhance trade and people relations.

It was a lively moment when Prime Minister Browne reminded President Kenyatta of the role played by the founding leader of Antigua and Barbuda, Vere Cornwall Bird, in Kenya’s independence struggle.

The deep links Kenya has had with Caribbean countries might be more than many Kenyans might know but some are worthy to be noted including the fact that Kenya’s former Chief Justice, Cecil H E Miller, was a native of Guyana.

The international legal team that defended founding President Jomo Kenyatta when he was jailed during the independence struggle was assembled by Jamaican lawyer Dudley Thompson.

During the meeting with Prime Minister Browne, President Kenyatta said Kenya and Antigua and Barbados will embark on improving their diplomatic relations.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was given the task to work out the next course of action in charting new diplomatic relations between the two countries.

PM Brown assured Kenya that Antigua and Barbuda as well as its neighbours will stand with Kenya on the international stage.

“We have an opportunity to build on the foundations set by our founding leaders,” he said as he announced that Kenyans wishing to visit Antigua and Barbado will have visa free status.

“We promise you of the support of Antigua and Barbado as well as the whole of CARICOM countries,” he said.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market is an association that brings together the 15 countries in the caribbean and also has five other states that are associate members.

President Kenyatta on his part assured PM Browne that Antigua and Barbado can count on Kenya’s support in all spheres.

This article was published on Capital FM News