Economy

Farmer seeks to save his land after being linked to Ngiritas

NYS-ngirita

Lucy Ngirita at Milimani Law Courts. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • A Kitale farmer has moved to court to save his land saying it was wrongly listed as part of the property belonging to the Ngirita family and which was forfeited to the government last year.
  • The property in Waitaluk area in Kitale was declared proceeds of crime by Justice Mumbi Ngugi last year, after ruling that the Ngiritas acquired it and other parcels using money stolen from NYS.

A Kitale farmer has moved to court to save his land saying it was wrongly listed as part of the property belonging to the Ngirita family and which was forfeited to the government last year.

The property in Waitaluk area in Kitale was declared proceeds of crime by Justice Mumbi Ngugi last year, after ruling that the Ngiritas acquired it and other parcels using money stolen from NYS.

But Mr Martin Amwayi Obimbo says Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) listed his property wrongly because the property has never been owned by Sylvia Ajiambo Ongoro, who allegedly sold the land to Lucy Wambui Ngirita and her son Jeremiah Gichina for Sh20 million.

Mr Obimbo says in the court documents that his plot neighbours that of Ms Ongoro who sold her parcel to the Ngiritas. He wants the court to temporarily suspend the decision forfeiting the land to the government.

“I had no knowledge whatsoever of the instant proceedings in this matter in respect with the forfeiture of the property owned by myself and the issue was only brought to my attention through my Advocate on record who noted the same on the Kenya Law Report site,” he said in an affidavit filed in court.

Mr Obimbo says he purchased the plot from Nathan Nyongesa and Zipporah Kaari in August 2016 and sought approvals to construct a house from Trans Nzoia county government only to find that restrictions had been placed on the plot.

“Subsequently, I halted assembly of construction materials and started following up with the Asset and Recovery Agency on why the restriction was placed on my property. I was informed that the restriction was placed due to an ongoing investigation, after which I was requested to give them time to conclude the investigations,” he said adding that ARA never got back to him.

The land was among three others and two vehicles all about Sh95 million, which were forfeited to the State last August. Justice Ngugi ruled that the family, which received in excess of Sh400 million from NYS, failed to explain how they acquired the properties.

“From the evidence, I am satisfied that the agency has placed sufficient material before the court to require the respondents to explain the basis of the massive deposits that they received from NYS and the source of the funds from which they purchased the properties,” the judge said.

The Judge noted that the family received multiple payments in a single day, amounts that ran into millions.

The court noted that after receiving millions from NYS, the Ngiritas went into buying spree, acquiring land and vehicles. “From the material placed before me by the agency, one is constrained to draw the inference that the transactions which resulted in these deposits were criminal in nature. It beggars belief that it is possible for public funds to be legitimately transmitted to individual accounts in such a manner,” the Judge said.

Mrs Ngirita transferred Sh58 million to her personal account at KCB, bought a Sh46 million plot in Naivasha and another in Nakuru for Sh7 million, ARA documents revealed.

She jointly son purchased the 0.70-hectare parcel of land in Waitaluk in Kitale for Sh20 million, with her son.