Prosecution concludes Ruto fraud case

March 21, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – The prosecution has closed its case in the multi-million shilling fraud trial of suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto and two others.

The State through Senior State Counsel Vincent Wohoro concluded its case by calling the investigating officer Kennedy Wanjala.

Mr Ruto and former President Daniel arap Moi\’s aide Joshua Kulei and one time Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita are jointly charged over the fraudulent sale of land to Kenya Pipeline.

The state called 20 witnesses to testify against Mr Ruto and his co-accused.

Defence lawyer Kioko Kilukumi who is appearing for Mr Ruto together with Katwa Kigen said he would make an application on Tuesday for his client\’s acquittal.

Mr Wabwoba told the trial magistrate Gilbert Mutembei that he lodged investigations upon receiving complaints from the Kenya Pipeline Company in May 2001 about some 333 parcels of land sold to the firm but title deeds could not be obtained because they are part of forest land in Ngong forest.

“KPC complained that upon completion of the sale and transfer of the parcels the company could not get title deeds for 33 pieces of land because they were part of forest land which had not been degazetted,\’\’ he said.

During investigations, the court heard that various companies involved in the sale of Ngong forest were Berke Commercial Agencies and Celtic Multisystems Companies associated with the Eldoret North MP.

The Chief Conservator at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is said to have confirmed to the investigating team that 33 plots passed to KPC were forest land and could not be sold to anybody.

He told the court that the parcels of land were not part of the 82 hectares that were degazetted from Ngong forest in 1996.

The witness could not explain why out of 32 companies only four that are associated with Mr Ruto and Mr Kulei are in court.

He maintained that he recorded a statement from Hellen Njue the then KPC Financial Manager who Mr Ruto is said to have made false misrepresentations to, saying he was in a position to sell 1.745 hectares of land belonging to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources .

Mr Ruto has since denied receiving Sh9.9 million from Ms Njue after saying he was in a position to sell 1.745 hectares of land which belonged to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources at Ngong Forest.

He is alleged to have further received Sh57.8 million for the sale of two parcels and another Sh28 million for a parcel of land in the same forest.

Berke Commercial Agencies has been accused of falsely obtaining the monies from KPC in 2001.

Mr Kulei faces charges of obtaining Sh58 million from KPC between August 6 and September 6,2001 while Sammy Mwaita has denied three counts of abuse of office for allegedly consenting the transfer of the parcels of land before they were degazetted.

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