DCI cites ex-bank chief in Sh3bn property fraud

Economy

DCI cites ex-bank chief in Sh3bn property fraud

Sh800-million Kiambu Mall along Kiambu Road. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NMG 

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has called for the prosecution of a former bank executive for allegedly using a dead company to grab a Sh3 billion parcel of land in Nairobi’s Runda as a battle for the prime property rages in court.

The detectives reckon that Francis Ng’ang’a, a former general manager at collapsed Rural-Urban Credit Bank, forged documents to takeover Williams & Kennedy Limited in 1983 and claimed the buyout gave him ownership of the 16.7 acres land.

The DCI, in a report for the Attorney General and seen by the Business Daily, says Mr Ng’ang’a and his wife Amy Kagendo fraudulently transferred the shares of Williams & Kennedy Limited to themselves and created a title to show the company owned the Runda land.

The report indicates that Williams & Kennedy Limited was wound up by its owners in 1973, and termed the transfer and subdivision of the land into four parts as fraudulent and based on forgeries of signatures belonging to top Land ministry officials.

Court and DCI records show that Mr Ng’ang’a duped the collapsed Rural-Urban Credit Finance Ltd and Postbank Credit Ltd, in 1983 and 1992 respectively, into issuing him loans with the Runda land as security.

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Postbank Credit, through the Deposit Protection Fund (DPF), pursued Mr Ng’ang’a who then sued to stop the sale of the land.

In 1993, Mr Ng’ang’a tried to sell the land to Jumchem Ltd, previously owned by Juma Muchemi, but the deal collapsed.

Mr Muchemi then approached the DPF, which had taken over Postbank Credit’s operations and managed to pay for the prime property allegedly via auction.

Mr Ng’ang’a sued Postbank Credit, the DPF and Mr Muchemi to reverse the sale, arguing he was not involved through the private treaty sale.

While the battle was still going on, Mr Muchemi sold his Jumchem Ltd to Kiambu Mall owner Peter Burugu, who inherited the court battle as well. Mr Muchemi died in 2018.

Businessman David Kimani has also laid claim to the property, arguing that he bought it from Zena Grace Lindsey in February 2000 and showed the trail of ownership of the land from 1950.

“The architect of the fraud and illegality and the resurrection of the “new” Williams and Kennedy company was none other than Francis Ng’ang’a,” said the DCI report received at Attorney General’s office on July 29.

The Attorney-General sought the DCI report to prepare its defence in court over the ownership of the Runda land.

Now, the DCI wants Mr Ng’ang’a charged with four counts of forging annual returns, making fraudulent changes at the Companies Registry in relation to Williams & Kennedy, two counts of uttering a document with intent to defraud.

Other charges are conspiracy to commit a felony, obtaining money by false pretence and forgery of a survey fee payment note.

Mr Koimburi could be charged with false assumption of authority, four counts of forging annual returns and uttering a document with intent to defraud.

Company secretary consultant Owen Koimburi could be charged with false assumption of authority, four counts of forging annual returns and uttering a document with intent to defraud.

Ms Kagendo faces two counts of making a false notification of change of company secretary at the Companies’ Registry, forging annual returns and uttering a document with intent to defraud.

Ng’ang’a told detectives that he acquired the Runda land from Donald Vincent of Williams & Kennedy for Sh2.5 million. Detectives were unable to trace Mr Vincent during the 13-year long investigations.

His statement contradicted that of Ms Kagendo, who claimed to have personally paid Sh2.5 million to Williams & Kennedy directors.

The sleuths say Mr Ng’ang’a colluded with Mr Koimburi to prepare fraudulent annual tax returns for the years 1984-1987 to make the dead company appear to have been operating.

Mr Koimburi was listed as Williams & Kennedy company secretary and an employee of Emu Registrars in the tax returns under the DCI probe.

The investigations show that Mr Koimburi was certified to act as a company secretary on November 23, 1990, meaning he had no authority to represent Williams & Kennedy.

Emu Registrars, the DCI says, was registered as a company on October 3, 1990, hence he could not have been legally hired by Williams & Kennedy between 1984 and 1987.

Mr Ng’ang’a reckons he was offered the land for sale by law firm Archer & Wilcock representing Mr Vincent on October 13, 1983, which was six days before his title deed was registered.

The DCI report indicates that Archer & Wilcock denied having dealt with Mr Ng’ang’a on the Runda land.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) told DCI that Mr Ng’ang’a and Ms Kagendo have never applied for a personal identification number (PIN) for Williams & Kennedy.

“It is inconceivable that Mr Ng’ang’a, Ms Kagendo and Ms Wanjiku, the purported new directors of Williams & Kennedy whose records appeared at the Registrar of Companies for a company owning such a huge land in Runda measuring 24.7 acres have not to this date registered a PIN with the KRA or filed any company returns as referred by a KRA letter dated June 30, 2020,” the DCI said.

Records at City Hall acquired by detectives indicate that the land was originally owned by St Benoist Plantation Limited, which sold it to a white settler, Basil George Mitton in 1950.

The City Hall records show that Mr Mitton transferred the property to another settler, Zena Grace Linsley who then sold it to Mr Kimani.

The DCI uncovered that Mr Kimani has been paying land rates to City Hall.

But Mr Ng’ang’a and Mr Burugu insisted that the land was first registered to Williams & Kennedy in 1977.

Mr Burugu is linked to the land through Mugaa Investments, Runda Gardens Development, Pemco Agencies and Jumchem.

Documents presented by Mr Ng’ang’a and Mr Burugu in support of their ownership claims were disowned by the Ministry of Land officials interviewed by the DCI.

The documents they presented were conflicting, as Mr Burugu’s bundle had three additional entries signed by former Land Commissioner Raymond Njenga.

Entries are transactions recorded by the Ministry of Land on registered pieces of land.

The signatures indicated to be Mr Njenga’s were put through forensic examination and determined to have been forgeries.

While most of the entries in both sets of ownership documents were the same, they had been signed by different land registrars and had different uses listed for the same property which detectives say is impractical.

DCI noted that the transfer to Jumchem in 2007 happened despite a caveat blocking dealings in the land.

The detectives highlighted that the transfer to Jumchem and handover to Runda Gardens Development happened on the same day of May 23, 2007, based on records in the title documents.

But the entry indicating transfer to Runda Gardens Development was later cancelled.

The DCI investigation also questioned why registrar of titles S. C. Njoroge issued gazette notice for the reconstruction of Jumchem Healthcare’s title deed yet there was an ongoing ownership row.

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