Businessman in Ruaraka land saga wants court protection


Nairobi businessman Francis Mburu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Nairobi businessman Francis Mburu at the centre of the controversial Sh1.5 billion Ruaraka land deal is seeking court protection against his arrest and investigation.

Mr Mburu says the land deal was the subject of a court case whose judgment was issued in his favour, terming the latest probe a witch-hunt.

The anti-graft agency is investigating payment of Sh1.5 billion to Afrison Export, Import Limited and Huelands Limited, which are associated with Mr Mburu, amid claims that the State paid for land that was government property.

Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) last week raided Mr Mburu’s Kileleshwa home and seized computers and documents related to the land deal.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the application an order of injunction be and is hereby granted restraining the respondents…from harassing in any manner whatsoever, intimidating, causing the arrest, threatening to arrest or and/ interfering with the ownership, compulsory acquisition and compensation over a portion of LR 7879/4 (land),” reads one of the order sought by Mr Mburu.

He accuses EACC of harassing him while protecting senior government officials who authorised payment of the Sh1.5 billion.

The controversy has rocked senior government officials with some pointing fingers at their colleagues as they try to absolve themselves.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on Monday told the Senate committee that her predecessors at the ministry, Dr Fred Matiangi, was to blame for the payment. Ms Amina faulted the ministry for overlooking recommendations of an internal report that advised against the payment.

Dr Matiang'i and PS Belio Kipsang are said to have disregarded the ministry's internal report to authorise the Sh1.5 billion payment for the controversial Ruaraka land.

Fresh documents tabled in Parliament on Wednesday show that a team appointed by the Ministry of Education to investigate the land’s ownership had concluded that the parcel occupied by Ruaraka High School and Drive-In Primary was public.

The Sh1.5 billion payment is part of the Sh3.2 billion that the government was to pay Mr Mburu for acquisition of 13 acres on which Drive Inn Primary School and Ruaraka High School sit.

READ: NLC paid private firms Sh1.5bn compensation for land already owned by govt

Mr Mburu claims ownership of the Ruaraka land had been determined earlier by the courts, arguing that it will be premature to arrest as the payment process is the subject of a suit.

National land Commission is seeking a determination from the High Court on whether its payment of Sh1.5 billion to Afrison Export and Import Limited was in line with the law.

He further alleges that EACC asked his lawyers to avail the titles to the land promising to return them after one hour but allegedly changed tune and informed them that it will be retained longer pending completion of investigations.

He says the retention of the titles has exposed his bankers to possible loss given his firm has used the property as security for a loan.

“The applicants are reasonably apprehensive that there is a sustained and malicious effort by the respondent who is ostensibly acting at the instigation of the extortionist to arbitrarily threaten the applicants with a view to have them concede to their demands or unduly use the criminal justice process and embarrass them on the basis of fabricated allegations for an ulterior motive other than vindication of the law,” says Mr Mburu.