High Court declines to halt trial against suspended Land CS Charity Ngilu

The High Court has declined to halt the trial of suspended Land Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and a former National Social Security Fund official over the Sh8 billion Karen land deal.

Instead, Environment and Lands Court Judge Lucy Nyambura Gacheru directed that the application by Ms Ngilu and Mr Josphert Konzollo be heard on August 12.

At the same time, a private company, Muchanga Investments, will object to the request to suspend the trial pending determination of the bona fide owner of the land.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has also filed an application seeking to dismiss the application by Mr Konzollo.

Muchanga Investments and the anti-graft agency say the Environment and Lands Court was established to handle cases arising from land and environmental issues only.

“The court cannot preside over criminal matters. It cannot therefore grant the orders sought by Mr Konzollo,” a prosecutor said.

Ms Ngilu, Mr Konzollo and a registrar in the lands office want Justice Gacheru to suspend the criminal case against them.

They argue that since the High Court is handling the land ownership dispute, the magistrates court cannot proceed with the same.

The application to suspend the criminal trial was made by Mr Konzollo through his lawyer Stephen Gikera under a certificate of urgency.

The minister and the others are being tried by magistrate Felix Kombo over the 134.4 acre Karen land dispute.

The suspects are asking Justice Gacheru to determine the ownership of the land first before the criminal court decides on their case.

guilt or innocence.

Justice Gacheru also heard that two government departments have differed on the matter, with the Director of Public Prosecutions commencing the criminal case while the Attorney-General is backing the land officers and CS in the civil dispute “as to who is the legal owner of the parcel of land.”