LAND TUSSLE

DPP asked to probe case of 'fake grandson' inheriting alive neighbour's land

Gicheru's case progressed at a snail's pace until it ground to a halt

In Summary

• The old man sued 'grandson' 16 years ago for concealment of material fact to obtain the letter of administration of his estate 

• Lawyer Donald Kipkorir wants the prosecutor and investigator as well as the trial magistrate punished for frustrating the course of justice

DPP Noording Haji
DPP Noording Haji
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

A stranger than fiction land case has been brought to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It's about a Murang'a elder and a neighbour he accuses of inheriting his land, purporting to be his grandson.

The "grandson" – Reuben Mbogonye - claimed that David Gicheru died in 1962 to obtain the letter of administration of his estate in 1998. 

Gicheru sued Mbogonye in 2002 after he learnt that a magistrate had issued the letter of administration to his neighbour to inherit his 3.9 acres at Yamugwe.

Court documents obtained by the Star show that Mbogonye swore an affidavit that Gicheru, who he claims to be his grandfather, died in 1962. The two are not blood relatives.

Gicheru petitioned the High Court to annul the letter of administration issued to Mbogonye "for concealment of material fact". 

The case progressed at a snail's pace until it ground to a halt. Gicheru could not afford a lawyer to represent him – a clear affirmation of the widely held view that the poor hardly get justice in the courts.  

Now, 16 years later, help has come to the old man from unexpected quarters. Last week, lawyer Donald Kipkorir's law firm announced it would revive the case.

A letter the firm sent to the DPP Noordin Haji shows that Mbogonye, upon realising that the old man is seeking to revive the case, countersued. He accused the old man of forging the title deed. He also says a document appertaining to the case had been stolen from the registry of Murang'a senior magistrate's court and altered to reflect that Gicheru owned the land. 

 

And as if that was not bad enough, the purported grandson had the old man detained for three days from August 6, this year, "to allow the police complete investigations" on the circumstances under which he obtained the document. 

Kipkorir wants Haji to institute disciplinary proceedings against the prosecutors involved in the case, the investigators and magistrate V. Ochanda for allegedly colluding with Mbogonye to frustrate the course of justice. 

"The hurried arrest, detention orders, and subsequent charging of our client and not granting him cash bail and scheduling the hearing to August 27 when all along the trial magistrate knew that we will act for him was purposely done to defeat the succession matter coming up on September 10," Kipkorir said in the letter. 

He also wants Haji to recall the prosecution file.