DPP WINS APPEAL

Suspects in Sh2.3 billion Miwani land fraud put on defense

Court rules evidence on record sufficient for fresh trial, faults acquittal of five

In Summary
  • Sukhwinder Chatte, Ian Maina, Philip Odongo, Epanaito Okoyo and Crossley Holdings Limited were acquitted for lack of evidence.
  • One of the accused, John Gitau, died before the ruling was made. 
Sukhwinder Chatte (in white shirt) with some of the suspects during a court session in Kisumu
FRESH CASE: Sukhwinder Chatte (in white shirt) with some of the suspects during a court session in Kisumu
Image: FAITH MATETE

All the five acquitted suspects in the Sh2.3 billion Miwani land fraud case have been put on their defence by a Nairobi court.

This follows successful appeal by the DPP over the acquittal of the suspects. 

Sukhwinder Chatte, Ian Maina, Philip Odongo, Epanaito Okoyo and Crossley Holdings Limited were acquitted for lack of evidence. 

Their co-accused Adulakadir Elkindy, a former magistrate, and Moses Osewe, were found to have conspired to defraud the state firm of 9,394 acres between May 21, 2007, and January 30, 2008.

 

Elkindy was charged with abuse of office, but she said her signature was forged to facilitate the alleged transfer. Osewe is said to have failed to collect land rates. 

One of the accused, John Gitau, died before the ruling was made. 

While setting aside orders of the trial magistrate Julius Ngar ngar who put two suspects on trial and acquitted seven, the court ruled that the evidence on record was sufficient to require placing all the accused on their defense.

"I find and hold that all accused persons before the chief magistrate including the five respondents before this court should have been placed on their defense and I so direct,” High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled on Wednesday.

The prosecution had prayed that the court should direct that the case be placed for hearing before any magistrate other than the trial magistrate.

However, the judge Ngugi  said she could not grant the prayers and the case will be heard by Ngar'ngar.

While appealing the matter, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions faulted the acquittal. Assistant DPP Frederick Ashimosi in July told the court he had sufficient evidence against the five.

He said they had proof the value of the grabbed property was Sh2.3 billion and took issue with Ng’arng'ar's assertion that the investigation was shoddy.

"We will also prove that the land in question belongs to Miwani Sugar Company and not as earlier ruled,” he told Justice Ngugi.

The accused are said to have conspired to defraud the state through forgery, fraudulent disposal of public property and fraudulent acquisition of public property.