Former MP, KRA officer in a Sh20million prime property dispute

Daniel Rono Land grabbing MP

Former Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono is embroiled in a land dispute at Elgon View estate, Eldoret.

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

  • Former Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono is embroiled in a legal ownership battle of a Sh20 million prime property in Elgon View estate in Eldoret town
  • The dispute also involves a senior Kenya Revenue (KRA) Officer against a businesswoman.

A real estate company associated with a former Keiyo South  MP Daniel Rono is embroiled in a legal ownership battle of a Sh20 million prime property in Elgon View estate in Eldoret town, pitting a senior Kenya Revenue (KRA) officer against a businesswoman.

A case filed by Julie Kandie at the Eldoret Environment and Lands Court accuses Nairobi-based KRA officer Godfrey Ofunya Omondi of allegedly conspiring with the land registrar Uasin Gishu County to acquire her property through fraudulent means.

In the court documents, Ms Kandie states that she discovered in December 2020 upon visiting the Eldoret lands office that her property had been transferred to a stranger without her consent or authority.

“When I conducted an official search at the lands registry, I discovered that my property had been fraudulently and unlawfully transferred and registered under the name of the defendant and a certificate of lease issued to him on August 31, 2010,” she told the court through an affidavit. 

Ms Kandie reported the matter at Langas police station on December 29, 2020, over the defendant's alleged fraudulent transaction on her property, which was recorded in the OB, on 25/29/2020 at 1.20 pm.

“I stand to suffer irreparable loss from being illegally, fraudulently, or unlawfully deprived of my land if the land register is not rectified to show me as the true owner of the land,” Ms Kandie argued.  

She argued that she is the beneficiary of the estate of her late father Athnas Suter Kandie who was the original leasehold owner of the property.

According to Ms Kandie, the said property known as Title Number, Eldoret Municipality Block 14/1153, was transferred from Public Trustee and subsequently registered to her on April 6, 2009.

“I have been the registered and rightful leasehold owner of the said property enjoying possession of the same,” Ms Kandie said.

Ms Kandie told Justice Elijah Obaga who is presiding over the matter that she has never given anyone authority or consent to sell or transfer her property on her behalf.

“The 1st defendant is a stranger and a person unknown to me. I have never entered into a sale agreement with him to sell the property,” adds Ms Kandie.

She asserted that evidence from the transfer of lease dated August 18, 2010, as provided by the Lands Registrar indicates a different parcel Title Number, Eldoret municipality Block 14/1155, whereas the suit property is Title Number Eldoret municipality Block 14/1153.  

In his defence, Mr Omondi denied claims that he acquired the title deed through fraudulent means and illegal means in cohort with the Land Registrar, claiming the right channels were followed and Ms Kandie was fully involved in the sale process.

He said in 2010, he contracted the services of Maestro Limited associated with former Keiyo South lawmaker Daniel Rono to source property for him in Eldoret.  

Mr Omondi said that Rono informed him that the plaintiff was disposing of her property now subject to the suit. He said he met Ms Julie Kandie and negotiated the price for the suit property.

“A sale agreement was drawn and executed by Ms Julie Kandie in the presence of an advocate. In addition, Julie willingly and voluntarily executed a transfer from the property in which the transfer was lodged at the Lands Registry,” Omondi claimed. 

The KRA official stated that he paid the plaintiff the entire agreed purchase price for the property and she executed the alleged transfer on or about August 30, 2010.  

He said that all relevant and requisite documents were lodged with the Land Registry at Eldoret and a title was issued in his name.   

On the other hand, the former MP said he was the proprietor of Maestro Properties Limited which deals with business real estate with branches in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Eldoret towns.

Mr Rono recalled that on or about 2010, Mr Omondi approached him with a request to source for his property for purchase around Elgon View estate on the outskirts of Eldoret town.

“I informed Mr Omondi that I did not have a property of that description at that moment but would notify him in the event one became available for purchase, subject to payment of brokerage fee/commission,” Mr Rono said.

The former MP in his court documents says that he was later called by Edwin Kiptoo, a property agent in Eldoret town who informed him of a parcel of land on sale in Elgon View estate, noting that the seller was Julie Kandie. 

“I Informed Mr Omondi and linked him to Edwin Kiptoo who took him to the owner of the property where he inspected the land, and upon being satisfied with the property, took steps to purchase the same,” Mr Rono added.

Mr Rono said after the inspection of the property, he advised Mr Omondi to remit the money for the purchase of the property to him to pay to the vendor of the property as per their agreement.

Mr Rono pointed out that in August 2010, he and Edwin met the said vendor of the suit property and gave her the purchase price in cash as that was her preferred mode of payment.

“Upon receiving the cash, I asked her to surrender the title deed of the property and sign the transfer which she did in the presence of Godfrey Ofunya Omondi,” claimed the former MP. 

He said he was surprised when Mr Omondi reached out to him with information to the effect that the vendor had lodged a suit against him seeking to reclaim the property which she willingly sold to him.  

“I wish to state that Godfrey Ofunya Omondi purchased the property from Julie Kandie and duly paid the purchase price and it is unfortunate that she is now alleging that she did not sell the property to him,” Mr Rono told the court.

In his testimony before Justice Obaga, Daniel Gutu, a private forensic document examiner hired by the defendant to examine and analyse the signature on the sale documents, ruled that the signature in the purchase documents belonged to the plaintiff.  

Mr Gutu who is a retired inspector of police attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi stated that in his opinion, all the signatures marked A, B1, C1, and C2 were similar and indistinguishable.

“From the sampled signature on all documents, it is clear that they do share similar individual writing characteristics as stated in the methodology. My opinion is that the DCI report dated February 24, 2021, is incorrect and misleading,” he stated.

He was disputing a report presented in court by his former boss Geoffrey Chania in which he had vindicated the plaintiff stating that all the documents related to the alleged sale of the suit property were forged. 

“In my opinion after carrying out examination and analysis of the documents, I formed the opinion that the signatures were made by the defendant,” said Chania.

Hearing of the case will continue on July 17.