City agent in Sh6m rent theft case confesses

Property manager Peter Gathungu Gikonyo

Property manager Peter Gathungu Gikonyo (r), charged with stealing Sh6.1m he received as rent, at the Milimani Law Courts on March 17, 2023.

Photo credit: Richard Munguti | Nation Media Group

A Nairobi property manager charged with stealing more than Sh6 million collected as rent has admitted retaining money he received as deposits from tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peter Gathungu Gikonyo, retained by two property owners - Kaggs Investiments Limited and Kethian Investments Limited - told Milimani senior principal magistrate Bernard Ochoi that he retained deposits collected from seven properties he was managing three years ago.

While answering questions from state prosecutor James Gachoka, Mr Gikonyo admitted he was questioned on several occasions by lawyer Charles Kibanga about the deposits he had received from tenants and asked to pay the landlords in full.

“After several meetings with Mr Kibanga about the rent received and deposits retained, you issued a cheque of Sh935,500,” Mr Gachoka said.

“Yes I issued the cheques to Kibanga,” Gikonyo answered.

Mr Gikonyo, trading as Afriland Agencies, further told the court that he prepared lease agreements signed by tenants without the permission of the landlords.

“You prepared lease agreements which you gave tenants to sign without the permission of the landlords,” Mr Gachoka said to him in re-examination.

“Yes, I prepared lease agreements, in the name of Afriland Agencies, which I gave tenants to sign,” he answered.

 The prosecutor further asked Mr Gikonyo: “Did you have authority from the landlords to make these leases?”

He answered: “No, I did not have their authority.”

Shown cheques and leases in the name of Afriland Agencies, Mr Gikonyo admitted preparing them.

However, the accused told the court many tenants moved out of the properties during the pandemic, affecting the cash flow.

He said the majority of the houses in Ngara and Kahawa Estates were rented out to students from the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University.

In March 2020, as Covid-19 ravaged the world, a warrant of arrest was issued against Mr Gikonyo when he failed to turn up in court since the Judiciary had closed public hearings.

A court determined that Mr Gikonyo, who was re-examined after giving a sworn defence, has a case to answer over the alleged theft of Sh6,133,900.

Before he was put in the dock to defend himself, Mr Ochoi said in a ruling: “After analysing all the evidence presented by state prosecutors James Gachoka and Philip Ade, this court finds you have a case to answer.”

Mr Gikonyo, represented by lawyer Sam Nyaberi, presented a host of documents in self defence and has denied stealing Sh4,390,560 from Kaggs, owned by Mr Francis Kibatta Kairu, between June 29 and September 1, 2020.

The charge sheet states that the accused had been entrusted with the safe custody of the money.

The agent, who was freed on a Sh1 million bond, faces another charge of stealing Sh1,743,340 from Keithian.

The hearing continues.


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