Trace chamber official suspended over City Cabanas land fraud charge

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice chairman Laban Onditi (left) at a past event in Nairobi on March 19, 2015. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice chairman Laban Onditi (left) at a past event in Nairobi on March 19, 2015. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU  NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has suspended its vice-chairman Laban Onditi Rao.

Mr Rao was suspended over his alleged involvement in an attempt to grab a 10-acre piece of land in Embakasi owned by popular restaurant City Cabanas.

The KNCCI on Tuesday held a board meeting in which it resolved to suspend Mr Onditi and any other official implicated in the attempted land-grab case.

Mr Onditi was last week charged with conspiracy to defraud City Cabanas owner Roseline Njeri Macharia of her land on Mombasa Road which hosts the popular eatery.

He denied the three conspiracy to defraud charges and was released on cash bail of Sh300,000 with an alternative of a Sh500,000 bond.

Mention date

Lady Justice Stella Mutuku will mention the case on February 7 to give further directions on how the suit will proceed.

“The Board of Trustees chaired by Eng Patrick Obath on January 31, 2017 and passed a special resolution that any Chamber official involved in the matter be made to step aside.”

“Guided by the Trustees, the national board met on February 1, 2017 and unanimously resolved to suspend national vice-chairman Laban Onditi Rao with immediate effect. He is no longer authorised to transact any business on behalf of the KNCCI,” KNCCI chairman Kiproo Kittony said in a statement.

Mr Onditi has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, making a false document and uttering a false document with intent to defraud.

The land’s position along the Eastern Bypass has made its value shoot up considerably since the 1990s when Ms Macharia constructed the restaurant on it.

Forged documents

Mr Onditi allegedly forged a letter of preparation of certified copy of deed plan which the prosecutor says was an attempt to make the prime land appear to be owned by the KNCCI.

Documents filed in court indicate that Mr Onditi allegedly produced the document at the Survey of Kenya headquarters on April 17, 2014 with the intention of defrauding Ms Macharia of the prime parcel of land.

The KNCCI vice chairman was arrested on January 25 and detained at the Muthaiga Police Station following investigations on complaints from Ms Machari, and arraigned in court on Thursday.

The prosecutor has named Ms Macharia as the only witness but requested the court to allow others to be summoned as the trial progresses to the hearing stage.

The charge sheet states that another individual has already been arraigned in court over the alleged land grab attempt, but does not reveal his or her name.