Two directors of the controversial Malili ranch were Wednesday acquitted by a Nairobi court after they were accused of stealing Sh143 million, a move that has cleared the way for work on the proposed multi-million shilling ICT park in Machakos.
The acquittal of Peter Kanyi and Julius Kilonzo will now clears the government to start construction work on the Information and Communication Technology training centre.
Chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei released the two directors for lack of evidence.
“Since the prosecution has failed to establish a sustainable charge against two directors, I order that they be released forthwith under Section 210 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC),” ruled Mr Mutembei.
Mr Kanyi and Mr Kilonzo were alleged to have stolen Sh143 million meant to compensate owners of the 5,000 acres ranch bought by the government for Sh1 billion to develop an ICT park.
The Government intends to put up high-end facilities such as business process outsourcing (BPO) with an aim of creating employment and luring investors into Kenya.
It has lined up a business process outsourcing park, a science park, convention centre, shopping mall, hotels, international schools and health facilities in the park to be located near Salama Trading Centre on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
Sources familiar with the projects said the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been appointed as the lead advisor for the project with the core mandate to identify a contractor to come up with a feasibility study and virtual model of the proposed state-of-the-art project.
After the government identified the 5,000 acres Malili ranch at a cost of Sh1 billion, it entered into contract with the company directors and has since paid for compensation.
However, a consultancy firm, Gateway, is demanding Sh65 million professional fees for allegedly facilitating the sale transaction of the property.
But Information and Communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo has dismissed Gateway’s claim, saying the government entered into the deal with Malili directors through the firm of Eric Mutua Advocates after a tendering process.
The law firm of Eric Mutua says the consultant was paid Sh40 million and “has no basis asking any further commission from the sale of the land.”
The lawyer admits that Gateway had entered into an agreement with his clients to look for the buyer of the vast property where consultant was to be paid a commission of Sh21,000 per acre for any piece of land bought.