EACC recovers Ksh.9.45M from company linked to public cemetery fraud scheme
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has recovered Ksh.9.45 million from a private company believed to have fraudulently acquired the funds in the purchase of public cemetery land by the defunct Nairobi City Council in 2008.
The recovered sum is part of Ksh.283 million that the government had disbursed to the then Nairobi City Town Clerk as payment for the purchase of land for use as a public cemetery.
Investigations by EACC established that City County officials colluded with other individuals to purchase land worth Ksh.110 million and shared the remaining Ksh.173 million amongst themselves and private companies associated with them.
"From the amount shared, Naen Rech Limited received Ksh.9,450,000. This is one of nine suits filed by EACC to recover a total of Ksh.173 Million fraudulently acquired in the purchase of public cemetery land by the defunct City Council of Nairobi," said EACC.
"The recovery suits against the other beneficiaries are at various stages of hearing in the High Court."
EACC filed the case against Naen Rech Limited and its Director Maina Chege in 2012 contending that the defendants had illegally received the said cash.
In its suit, EACC argued that the land offered by Naen Rech Limited did not meet the criteria set by the tender document on soil suitability for a cemetery.
"The land offered by Naen Rech Limited for purchase to be used as a public cemetery had 2 ½ feet cotton soil and 2 ½ feet rocks. The soil depth did not reach a minimum of 1.8 metres deep and therefore did not meet the mandatory condition in the tender document on 6 feet soil depth," the court heard.
EACC investigations also
established that the land offered by Naen Rech did not belong to the private
company with the anti-graft watchdog adding that a city law firm, Alphonce
Mutinda Advocates, forged a letter informing the City Council that the registered
owner of the land, Henry Kilonzo, had appointed it as its agent to participate
in the tender's bidding process.
"The second fraud was the forging of a sale agreement that had purportedly been entered into between the registered owner of the land Henry Kilonzo and the City Council of Nairobi," said EACC.
"An agreement for sale dated 19.12.2008 was entered into between Naen Rech Limited and the real owner of the land, Henry Kilonzi, for the sale of cemetery land measuring 120 acres at a purchase price of Ksh.110,000,000."
In her judgment, Justice Esther Maina ordered the defendants to pay to the EACC Ksh. 9.45 million together with costs and interest from the date of receipt of the monies in 2012.
"The High Court has agreed with EACC that the defendants were liable for illicit enrichment as they were not entitled to the funds they received," said EACC.
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