Counties

Court acquits four in Sh2.3bn Miwani Sugar land sale case

miwani

Entrance of Miwani Sugar Factory in Kisumu County. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG

Summary

  • The appellate judges restored the ruling and order of the trial magistrate court that the accused persons have no case to answer and stand acquitted.
  • The accused faced various charges related to the alleged fraudulent transfer of the 9,394-acre land in Kisumu to Crossley Holdings Limited.
  • The charges included conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent disposal of public property, fraudulent acquisition of public property and forgery of documents.

The Court of Appeal has acquitted four people implicated in the illegal sale of a parcel of land worth Sh2.3 billion belonging to the State-owned Miwani Sugar Company.

The appellate judges restored the ruling and order of the trial magistrate court that the accused persons have no case to answer and stand acquitted. The trial court had attributed the collapse of the case to shoddy investigation.

The four led by lawyer Ian Gakoi Maina, Odongo Phillips Kabita, Sukhwinder Singh Chatte, Epainto Apondo Okoyo together with Crossley Holdings Ltd had been acquitted in 2019 but the High Court reversed the magistrate's decision and directed that the accused be placed on their defence.

They escalated the fight to the Court of Appeal, where a three-judge bench has ruled that the evidence on record before the trial magistrate left great doubt as to the proof of the offence leveled against the accused persons.

"There was not laid before the court evidence which, unless controverted, would be sufficient to establish the elements of the offences," said Justices Asike Makhandia, Patrick Kiage and Jamila Mohammed.

The accused faced various charges related to the alleged fraudulent transfer of the 9,394-acre land in Kisumu to Crossley Holdings Limited.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent disposal of public property, fraudulent acquisition of public property and forgery of documents. The offences were allegedly committed between May 21, 2007 and January 30, 2008.

It was the prosecution’s case that the land belonged to Miwani Sugar Company Limited (1989) (in receivership) and had been transferred by a fraudulent scheme commenced by the filing of a dummy case at the High Court in 1999 by Nagendra Sexene against Miwani Sugar Mills Limited.