Probe into loss of Sh26m at Kilifi County boss’ office starts

By: PHILIP MUYANGA

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is investigating how Sh26 million disappeared from the Kilifi County Commissioner’s office despite a court order that the money should not be withdrawn, a court has heard.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) had given the money as compensation for those who would be displaced from a 200-acre piece of land, where the firm wanted to construct its sub-station and power lines.

This is part of the 7,800-acre land that is under dispute in Mariakani, Kilifi County.

Attorney General Githu Muigai has made an application seeking to have the title to the disputed land suspended until the case is heard.

State counsel Wanjiku Mbiyu said the title was issued to an individual, one Mr Tsangwa Ngala Chome, irregularly.

The application is premised on claims that a Kilifi County lands registration officer issued Mr Chome with the title under duress, intimidation and threats.

“The land is or was trust land set aside under the former Constitution for the benefit of the people living here, currently under the Kilifi County government,” Ms Mbiyu’s application reads in part.

The official also wants a consent judgment entered between Mr Chome and Ketraco put aside on the grounds of fraud, illegality and misrepresentation and contrary to public interest.

UNETHICAL

At the same time, the state counsel wants the National Land Commission enjoined in the case as a respondent.

She is also seeking to have the Advocates Disciplinary Committee to take action against Mr Chome’s former and current lawyers for alleged unethical and unprofessional conduct.

The AG further argues that the defunct county council of Kilifi had set aside for public use part of the land, which now has trading centres, churches, mosques, health centres and the Mariakani weighbridge.

“The Attorney General was not party to the suit where the consent was entered to the detriment of the community,” reads a section of the application.

The AG says he was a respondent in many petitions filed by the plaintiff before the High Court and has never consented to their withdrawal.

According to the AG, the effect of the consent order and notices of withdrawals of petitions is intended to compromise the defence to the suits.

In his supporting affidavit, Kilifi County land and adjudication officer Felix Kiteto said on February 26 2013, his office was served with a court order dated February 25, directing that he adjudicate, within seven days, in favour of Mr Chome all property known and comprised in Mariakani Mitangoni.

He also allowed parties to file any documents in court.

Several government administrative offices, including the Mariakani weighbridge, are on the disputed land.

On Tuesday, Justice Oscar Angote directed that the case to be mentioned on November 19.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION