Ruto sucked into controversy over purchase of 900 acres - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

Ruto sucked into controversy over purchase of 900 acres

Deputy President William Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto has been sucked into another land controversy after a human rights lobby demanded an investigation into his acquisition of a 900-acre tract once owned by former vice-president Joseph Murumbi.
In a letter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Trusted Society of Human Rights questions the acquisition four years ago of the Intona Ranch land in Trans Mara West sub-county by the DP after paying off a loan owed to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) by the late Murumbi. The land was bought through North Mogor Holdings.
In documents sent to the DCI and copied to Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the society also wants AFC and directors of North Mogor Holdings investigated over claims of abetting corruption.
Attached to the letter, signed by the lobby chairman Elijah Sikona, are sale agreements, court responses between the family and AFC and registration documents of the buying company.
The land, located 23 kilometres south-west of Kilgoris, was allocated to Murumbi in 1977 by the Narok County Council and was officially handed over to him by lands and settlements minister Joshua Angaine.
According to AFC records, Murumbi defaulted on a Sh8.9 million loan he had taken from AFC in 1985 to finance farming. He was required to repay the loan over 25 years.
Murumbi, an avid collector of African art, died in 1990.
His brothers, Mr Kitui ole Yiamboi and Oiboo ole Kapeen, filed a petition in court, arguing that the AFC loan had been written off by the government.
They filed a fresh application in the Environment and Land Court in Kisii challenging AFC, Intona Ranch Ltd, Kilgoris Land Registrar and the Attorney-General over the ownership of the land but lost the case.
The fresh case challenged the judgment on the grounds that the court case was filed by parties that had no legitimate expectations on the land.
Records filed in court show that in 1978, Intona Ranch borrowed from AFC Sh573,875, which was disbursed and eventually settled. A second loan of Sh8.6 million was given to the company in September 1985 and the land was used as security.
Intona Ranch defaulted, prompting AFC to demand immediate settlement of the outstanding amount. When that failed, AFC, through Dawning Agencies and Auctioneers, advertised the property for sale by public auction, and the land was bought by AFC on November 20, 1998 for Sh28 million.
A senior AFC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Murumbi and Mr Steve Omenge were listed as the directors of the ranch when the loan was taken in 1985 and a title deed was surrendered as security.
“AFC tried to auction the land in 2004 but no buyer turned up, forcing the corporation to take possession of the ranch,” says the official.
The lobby, however, claims AFC sold the land LR NAROK/TRASMARA/INTONA/2 on October 19, 2015, to North Morgor Holdings (NMH) allegedly on behalf of the DP.
Three years ago a group of 99 members of the Moitanik clan also laid claim to the land, and a court ruled that the resource be divided between AFC and the community and the latter was given more than 1,000 acres (Tranmara/Ntona 33), while Mogor bought the rest, 976 acres (Tranmara/Ntona 34).
However, Mr Sikona says the AFC general manager fraudulently and illegally transferred the property title deed from the owner of Intona Land Ltd to AFC without following the law.
He said immediately after the land was transferred to AFC, it changed from private to public land.
“AFC herein failed to follow the Public Procurement and Disposal Act while undertaking the subject transactions,” said Mr Sikona.
The lobby also wants the DCI to investigate NMH Company with registration no CPR/2015/205961, registered on September 2, 2015 with two directors, Mr Kitipa Ole Nashurr and Mr Paul Tapukai ole Mebarni.
And according to the sale and purchase agreements, the lobby indicates that on September 7, 2015 — five days after NMH was registered — the company wrote a letter of offer to AFC through their advocate Messrs Kemboi and Company requesting to purchase 976 acres to be excised from the Intona ranch.
The corporation, in a letter, AFC/LEGAL/EX-RIM No 004180, eight days later, considered the request to sell the land to NMH for Sh63,440,000 but with terms set by AFC, including full payment within 90 days and a down payment of sh15, 60,000, or 25 percent of the total amount.
The lobby wants investigations carried out into who was paid the principle amount as the only money that can be accounted for is Sh634,000 paid for stamp duty on November 13, 2015 through a banker’s cheque number 874230 at Chase Bank in Nairobi.
In a letter to the corporation by the family in July 26, 2013 through their lawyers Oguttu-Mboya and Company Advocates, they protested that the transfer and registration of the subject land in favour of AFC was procured and obtained fraudulently.
The law firm, under instructions from one principal shareholder of the family of Murumbi, accused AFC of fraudulently doctoring the transfer instrument and therefore causing the subject land to be registered in the name of the corporation.
“It is trite law, that a charge, over and in respect of the charge security, is not authorised to participate in the auction relating to the charge security. Besides the charge cannot purchase the charge security, unless the same sought and obtained leave of the court to do so,” argued the family in the letter received and stamped by the corporation in 2013.
In December 2015, five family members, three of whom are now deceased, sought the intervention of the Chief Justice to repay the loan and be allowed to retain the land that their brother owned but were turned down in unclear circumstances.
MR Ruto’s name has been linked to the controversial acquisition of the land on which Weston Hotel in Nairobi stands and the acquisition of a parcel belonging to a post-election chaos victim in Uasin Gishu. The DP has since handed back the latter land to the owner in an out-of-court settlement.

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