Conflicting paper trails raise fresh queries in Moi land deal

United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) students protest along Thika Road on July 13, 2016. Former President Daniel arap Moi appears to have sold a piece of land belonging to the university to two different buyers, according to records provided by USIU-A. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Moi first transferred the land in Muthaiga North estate to DPS International Limited on November 10, 1988, while he was still President.
  • Three weeks ago, former President Moi used the fresh title deed to sell the land to a developer for Sh500 million.
  • USIU-A is accusing George Kiongera of grabbing its land.
  • Dr Kiongera, who lives in the US, provided documents to show that he bought the land from Mr Moi.
  • USIU-A on Wednesday produced what it says are records going back 34 years to prove ownership of the land.

Former President Daniel arap Moi appears to have sold a piece of land in a posh Nairobi suburb to two different buyers, according to records provided by United States International University-Africa.

He first transferred the property in Muthaiga North estate to DPS International Limited on November 10, 1988, while he was still President.

Last year, he reported the title deed was lost and the land file was missing. He applied for and was issued with a fresh title deed. Three weeks ago, he used the fresh title deed to sell the land to a developer for Sh500 million.

His application for the land file to be reconstructed was announced by Nairobi Land Registrar W. M. Muigai in Kenya Gazette Notice No. 236 of January 16, 2015.

USIU-A is accusing George Kiongera of grabbing its land.

On Wednesday, the university community, including Chancellor Manu Chandaria and Vice-Chancellor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, held a demonstration on Thika Road to demand that action be taken against Dr Kiongera.

However, the Kenyan, who lives in the US, provided documents to show that he bought the land from Mr Moi.

Mr Moi’s spokesman, Lee Njiru, did not answer or return the Nation’s phone calls. Other parties mentioned in the transaction, such as Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat, who normally speaks for the former President’s son and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, also did not answer calls.

The disputed land was ringed with men armed with rungus, slashers, machetes and sticks.

Details of how the 40-acre prime property near the affluent suburb of Muthaiga changed hands from Joreth Limited to Mr Moi on March 30, 1982, and ended up with Dr Kiongera is a complex but fascinating story.

Joreth Ltd was at the time owned by former head of Public Service Duncan Ndegwa.

The land ended up in the possession of yet another Ndegwa, Philip, through his insurance company, ICEA, which later sold the land to USIU-A, according to the university.

REPORTED TITLE MISSING

Nine months after Mr Moi reported the title missing, the Registrar of Titles issued a new certificate of ownership on September 17 last year, saying it would be valid in place of the lost one. This is the document that Dr Kiongera relied on when he bought the property.

The Gazette notice said Mr Moi was the registered owner of the land LR No 12422/19 that “by virtue of a certificate of title registered as I.R. 36415/1, and whereas the land register in respect thereof is lost or destroyed, and whereas efforts made to locate the said land register have failed.”

The notice added: “Notice is given that after the expiration of 60 days from the date hereof, the property register shall be reconstructed under the provisions of section 33 (5) of the Act, provided that no objection has been received within that period.”

However, USIU-A on Wednesday produced what it says are records going back 34 years to prove ownership of the land.

While Dr Kiongera maintains that his purchase is above board, the university’s records show the former President last owned the property 28 years ago.

The new buyer said: “I pity the university because it is innocent. I blame the legal officer who transacted on behalf of USIU-A. I really sympathise with USIU. I have presented my case, let now USIU give their side.”

LAND SUBDIVIDED

USIU-A external communications coordinator Jackline Chirchir said records in custody of their advocates, Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates, traced the ownership to 1980, when the land was owned by Joreth Limited. At the time, the property was part of a bigger parcel of land identified as LR No 12422.

The firm then sub-divided it and produced two parcels — LR Nos.12422/18 and 12422/19 – which it transferred to Mr Moi in 1982. These two portions measured 8.223 and 8.071 hectares, translating to about 40.246 acres in total.

The Registrar of Lands issued Mr Moi with two certificates of ownership with the Index Registry Nos as 36414 and 36415.

On March 26, 1984, while Mr Moi was still President, he consolidated the two titles and was issued with one Title Deed Index Registry No 38524.

“Arising out of the surrender, the two portions were consolidated into one piece which was allocated a new number (Land Reference) LR No.12597 (original numbers 12422/18 and 12422/19) measuring 16.295 hectares,” the USIU-A statement said.

Mr Moi owned the land until November 10, 1988 when he sold it to DPS International Ltd.

HIVED OFF 10 ACRES

At the same time, former Finance minister Arthur Magugu, who has since died, owned land nearby.

Mr Magugu co-owned the land with his wife and it was identified as LR No 12608, but its original number was 12422/17. He, too, sold his to DPS.

On February 26, 1990, DPS sold the two parcels to Insurance Company of East Africa. Through a deed transfer, ICEA’s parcels were registered as IR 38523/5 and IR 38524/5.

USIU-A came into the picture on May 4, 1999, when it purchased the two parcels from ICEA.

“By a deed of transfer dated May 4, 1999, registered as Number I.R.38523/8 and I.R.38524/8, Insurance Company of East Africa Limited transferred LR Nos12597 and 12608 to United States International University,” the university said.

This means the two parcels, formerly owned by Mr Moi and Mr Magugu, were sold to USIU-A. The land sub-divisions did not stop there because on January 24, 2001, the university entered into an agreement with Balozi Housing Co-operative Society Limited, which owned an adjacent plot.

DEED OF EXCHANGE

The society hived off 10 acres from its own land and transferred it to the university. Similarly, the university also hived off 10 acres of its land and gave it to Balozi.

“It was agreed between the parties that the parties would excise approximately 10 acres from their respective lands and would exchange the excised portions,” said Ms Chirchir.

“The deed of exchange was duly registered in the registry of titles, and each of the parties were issued with new title deeds. USIU’s title is certificate of title number I.R.106361 dated June 14, 2007.”

Ms Chirchir said that originals of all the documents are available.

Dr Kiongera produced documents showing the transfer of the land from Mr Moi to Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd on June 6. He owns the company with his wife, Elizabeth Njeri.

Mr Moi was represented by lawyer Jinaro Kibet of TripleOKLaw Advocates in the transactions in question while lawyer Albert Ondieki acted for Dr Kiongera.

Mr Ondieki said he was involved in the transaction from the start and had conducted due diligence with TripleOKLaw.

He said: “I’m surprised people have emerged to claim ownership. I visited the institution (USIU-A) but was met with very rude reception.”

Mr Kibet told the Nation that he represented Mr Moi during the transactions and that he had “acted on the instructions of the seller”.

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