Cartels in Sh280 million land scam unmasked
Intrigues detailing how Proland Ltd Company entered into a deal with some officials at City Hall to irregularly award the firm Sh 280 million in a leasehold agreement have emerged.
The company, which was blasted by Governor Mike Sonko on Wednesday for colluding with police officers and the judiciary to defraud the County, has been getting into questionable deals that have seen millions of money lost.
It has now emerged that the company entered into leasehold sell agreement with the defunct Nairobi City Council in January 1998 in collaboration with the then town clerk of the local authority.
It is not clear whether the purported piece of land in Nairobi’s Langata can be traced but the firm and corrupt officers in the council found ways of navigating the corridors of justice to initiate payments.
The firm has so far siphoned Sh 175 million from the county coffers and Governor Sonko is set to seek court clarification over the matter.
In the grand scheme to continuously loot the county, the firm claims to have entered an agreement to be paid Sh 50 million as deposit.
A cheque issued by the council in February 1998 for the deposit amount would later be cancelled after it emerged that the piece of land was actually not in existence.
Under the defunct local government system, the city council of Nairobi was supposed to transact such business a resolution of the council approved by the finance committee, the general purposes committee and the full council.
It’s also clear that City Hall appealed against the Sh 280 million agreement that was reached through arbitration .The arbitration was awarded on 5th November 2001.
This unearths the inconsistencies and anomalies that rocked the City Council’s legal department which has since been inherited by the county government.
To make the matters worse, the firm still outsmarted officials in the last regime and entered another fictitious deal to be getting Sh 35 million in installments. Over Sh 50 million have been gobbled up in this agreement.
Their plan has seen plain cloths officials always sneak to the finance department to intimidate, make nasty demands as well as arresting them in a plot to get the money for supplying air.
The governor on Tuesday intervened to stop a group of plain cloth officials who were back again to arrest finance officials.
The governor promised to unmask and shame police officers who are working in cohhots with rogue firms to defraud government institutions and City Hall in particular.
He questioned the circumstances under which the firm has been meanting millions of money from the county yet they have no documents to show that they are suppliers or owed by the county government.
“This is what has been going on here where people sit down to choreograph on ways of defrauding the county and we have to put an end to it,” sonko said
This comes just a few days after the governor, in his quest to fight land cartels, repossessed four pieces of land in South C and consequently revoked ongoing constructions to pave way for more investigations.
The governor stopped constructions on a piece of land along Olive Hospital Road which he said is a public water reservoir worth Sh5billion.
The piece of land has a water tank with a capacity of 24,000 litres and can supply water to the entire Langata sub-county and parts of Kibra.
The Governor also stopped ongoing construction two pieces of land meant for construction of a public market and ECDE center respectively.
The governor said that investigations have commenced to identify circumstances under which the public land was reallocated to private developers.
“South C has a lot of problems and that is why we are here to try and repossess land irregularly allocated to private developers at the expense of the public,” Sonko said.
The construction of a mall on the land allocated for construction of an ECDE center has also been stopped to pave way for investigations.
The governor announced that he has temporarily stooped approval of buildings to give room for the ongoing audit on the planning department as well as bringing sanity to the sector.
South C MCA Osman Mohamed revealed that the residents have been frustrated by the clamor by private developers to take over public spaces. He hailed the governor for coming in handy to stop the mess.
“Private developers have for many years been grabbing public land here in collusion with county officials and I would want to that the Governor for taking action,” he said.
The chairperson of South C Residents Association Ranjna Baraj said that she has been receiving threats from private developers’ everytime she follows up on grabbed public land.
“We are tired as South C residents, am being threatened each and every day. I live in fear, last Week i broke my glass dining table after my house was hit with stones. We want this mess to come to an end.”she said
The governor had earlier on visited the land owned by businessman Avtar Singh Nadhra which has reportedly been allocated to individuals from Wajir County.According to Sonko, state officials in conjunction with rogue City Hall officials found a way of misleading the courts in making unpopular rulings over the ownership of the land.
Documents show that the original title deed for Land Plot LR No. 209/12594 (Grant No. 67057) measuring 0.411 Ha. (1.016 Acres) was issued to AVTAR SINGH NADHRA on 05th October 1995 at 10:44AM for lease starting 1st May 1995 for 99 Years.
In an interesting turn of events, that same property LR No 12594 is purportedly issued a new title under Lands Act, 2012 IR. 205587 but under the same Deed Plan No. 196466 in the names of OSMAN Gabow Ibrahim and Esther Wahito Kuria from Wajir.
The governor also issued a stern response to the Kenya Institute of Planners regarding their complaint over the recent delays in processing approvals by the county government.
He accused the institution for being part of the cartel that has been working behind the scenes to disregard building approval regulations.
Only time will tell if Sonko’s purge on graft is geared towards eliminating city cartels from the corridors of City Hall of if it’s a calculated scheme to advance personal interests.