Three charged with forgery in Sh14bn Portland fraud case

Land-buying officials

The three officials of a land-buying company when they were arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi on April 12, 2024.

Photo credit: Richard Munguti | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The three were arrested last October after the demolition of homes built on the land.
  • The defence lawyers say their clients have valid title deeds for the land in question.

Three officials of a land-buying company have been charged with forgery and obtaining money Sh14 billion from East African Portland Cement Company through pretense.

Julius Mutie Mutua, Pascal Kiseli and Alex Kyalo Mutemi are facing a total of 24 counts filed against them by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The accused persons have been charged with conspiring to defraud the giant cement company of 4298 acres of land valued at Sh14.1 billion.

The three officials of Aimi Ma Lukenya Society are alleged to have defrauded 23 investors of Sh25 million, claiming they were in a position to sell to them parcels of land belonging to the cement company.

The suspects,who were arrested last October following the demolition of palatial homes built on the disputed land, denied all the charges.

Through lawyers Joseph Mutava and Jackson Kala, the accused applied to be released on reasonable bond, claiming they are persons of meagre means.

The defence told Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi at Milimani Law Courts that the land belongs to the land-buying company and the three have a valid title for the same.

"The land in question is subject to a Court of Appeal suit over its ownership," Mutava told the court.

He said the arraignment of the accused amounts to an abuse of the court process.

"One cannot be dragged from a superior court to be charged in a subordinate court over a dispute that is awaiting determination," the defence lawyer submitted.

The defence team further told the court the monies allegedly received by the accused belong to the society which has more than 10,000 members.

The defence lawyers asked the court to free their clients on a reasonable bond on grounds of their health.

"Detaining the three for a long period may turn out to be catastrophic given their failing health," Mr Kala told the court.

The DPP, through State Prosecutor, James Gachoka, did not oppose the bond application, but urged the court to be guided by the bail and bond policy rules.

In his ruling, Justice Ochoi noted that the defense lawyers made submissions on the health conditions of the accused but presented no medical reports on the health status of the accused.

He called for a pre-bail report on the accused persons before the determination of their bail plea.

The magistrate ordered the three to be detained at Capitol Hill Police Station until Monday when he will determine the bond plea after receiving the pre-bail report.

On Thursday, Justice Ochoi dismissed an application to transfer the case to Machakos or Maviko Law Court where the disputed land is situated.

In his ruling, the judge said the Milimani Law Court has jurisdiction for trial of the case.

He further directed that the accused to answer the charges filed against them by the DPP.