The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has opened fresh investigations into a case involving Mombasa businessman Ashok Doshi that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) had already concluded and preferred charges.
The latest twist in the fraud case touching on a 2.5-acre piece of land on Processional Way, Nairobi, lifts the lid on a clash between DPP Noordin Haji and the new DCI boss Mohammed Amin.
Sunday Nation has obtained confidential documents by Mr Amin informing Lands and Physical Planning Principal Secretary, Nixon Korir, of his decision to probe the disputed land ownership case afresh following what he said was emergence of new evidence.
The correspondences were copied to Lands Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru, ODPP, Attorney General Justin Muturi and Chief Lands Registrar.
In 2020, ODPP concurred with the DCI that the directors of Magnum Properties – Mr Doshi and his wife Pratibha – be charged for alleged forgery of documents and conspiracy to defraud the government.
Mr Haji told Sunday Nation that his office was waiting for the DCI to arraign the suspects in court, and expressed frustrations at the delay by DCI to have the couple charged.
Mr Amin told Sunday Nation that he needed more time to go through the file before he can give a response over the back and forth in the matter that has dragged on for years.
Mr Doshi and his wife lost a case in which they sought to permanently restrain the police and Director of Public Prosecutions from arresting and charging them in 2021.
In the letter, DCI through its head of investigation Wilhem Kimutai, sought to reinvestigate the case while admitting existence of the order to charge by ODPP.
“Reference is made to our earlier letter …dated January 3, 2023 whereby it was indicated that there is a directive by the DPP to charge the Directors of Magnum Properties Ltd. It has now been brought to my attention that a new team has been constituted to review the matter following complaints by both parties. After preliminary investigations, the new team has established that some material evidence had been included in the duplicate file which was previously forwarded to the ODPP,” states the document dated January 10.
It adds: “We shall soon be resubmitting the respective file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for perusal in the view of the new evidence.”
In an earlier letter dated January 3, the DCI had indicated that it was in the process of implementing the ODPP directive to charge the suspects.
It was not immediately clear what evidence the office obtained in a span of a week to resort to fresh investigations on the matter that has dragged on for years.
“By a letter Ref ODPP/13/1/624 dated February 28, 2022, the ODPP reaffirmed the same position and ordered that the directors of Magnum Properties Ltd be charged as per earlier directions. The Director of Criminal Investigations is in the process of implementing the decision and directions of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution,” Mr Kimutai said in the letter dated January 3.
The parcel of land in question initially belonged to Greenview Lodge Ltd owned by Jenniffer Nthenya. But Doshi claims its ownership, alleging that the land was transferred to them in 2018 for Sh150 million.
The dispute has had twists and turns. Initially, in 2013, the DCI recommended that Ms Nthenya be charged with forgery, making a false document, and giving false information to public service officials.
DCI investigators later sought to have the couple charged for alleged fraud.
According to court documents, Greenview Lodge insists that it is the legitimate proprietor of the land, which it was allocated by the government in 1986.
According to the company, by July 1992, it had paid Sh1,050,000 towards liquidation of the allocation fees, but following the death of one of its directors, Ms Nthenya was forced to look for a prospective purchaser for the land.
She said that the intended purchase did not go through as they did not receive the Sh120 million intended selling price, yet in fraudulent circumstances, Magnum Properties Ltd purported to obtain a grant over the land, yet it was not the allottee of the land from the government.
Greenview Lodge Ltd told the court that the matter has been extensively and broadly investigated by internal departments in the Ministry of Lands and Settlement, the National Land Commission, and other government agencies. According to them, all these bodies found that the purported transfer to Magnum Properties was un-procedural, irregular and fraudulent.
But according to Mr Doshi, Ms Nthenya decided to sell the land in 1992 as she was frustrated by being constantly carjacked on Processional Way.
Magnum Properties offered to buy the land for Sh20 million and a deal was reached, court papers say.
Ms Mwikya then wrote to the Doshis in 1995, saying she regretted selling the land and was willing to get a loan to have it back. She filed a complaint against Magnum Properties in 2007.