Majiwa charged with Sh283m cemetery fraud


Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa in court where he denied three counts of conspiring to defraud the City Council of Sh283 million October 26, 2010. PAUL WAWERU

Nairobi Mayor Geophrey Majiwa and Deputy Town Clerk Geoffrey Charo Kahindi were on Tuesday charged with conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption by acquiring Sh283.2 million from the Ministry of Local Government for the purchase of a graveyard.  

The mayor faced two other counts of neglect to perform official duty by failing to ascertain whether the city council had received or accepted any offer from Henry Musyoki Kilonzi, the alleged owner of the land in Mavoko, before appending his signature and affixing the official council seal.

Mr Kahindi was not in court and summons were issued for him to appear on November 9 to plead to the charges.

On the same day, Mr Majiwa will attend the mention with a view to consolidate the case with that of suspended Local Government PS Sammy Kirui, former Town Clerk John Gakuo and former permanent secretary William Mayaka.

Mr Majiwa was asked to deposit a cash bail of Sh2.5 million or security worth Sh6 million to secure freedom.

In the same court, a valuer with the Local Government ministry, Boniface Misera, and a private surveyor Cephas Kamande Mwaura, were jointly charged with counts relating to the Sh283.2 million cemetery land fraud.

They were also directed to deposit Sh2.5 million cash bail to secure their release.

It is alleged that the land, independently valued at Sh24 million, was sold to the council for Sh283 million, prompting a public outcry.

Also charged in connection with the cemetery land are Mary Ng’ethe, the suspended director of legal affairs at City Hall, Herman Chavera, the chief finance officer at the Ministry of Local Government, and Bonface Misera, the director of procurement at the ministry.

Lawyers Paul Onduso and Davies Osiemo and two traders, Maina Chege and Mercy Kinyanjui also face similar charges.

The charges arise from March 2005 when Nairobi City Council approved the purchase of land for use as a cemetery as the existing graveyard at Lang’ata had no space.

In 2008, the search was extended outside Nairobi because there was no sizeable tract to serve immediate and future needs.

Mr Majiwa on Tuesday complained of inhuman treatment at the hands of police and the anti-graft agency.

Through his lawyer Odhiambo Wakla, Mr Majiwa accused Kacc of dramatising his arrest prejudicing the trial.

“I was picked from my house in the wee hours, taken to Integrity House and paraded before a battery of journalists, interrogated the whole day before eventually being booked at Kilimani Police Station,” he recounted, arguing that his plea for bail to freely appear in court was rejected.

Mr Majiwa said he had moved to the High Court for a constitutional reference seeking to stop the Attorney General from prosecuting him on charges relating to the cemetery land scandal and the proceedings were ongoing.

However, the prosecution said the mayor had not obtained any court order to stay the criminal proceedings in the lower court.