NAIROBI, Kenya, May 2 – A lawyer adversely mentioned in a land case pitting USIU-A against former President Moi and two private developers who also claim to own the prime property in Nairobi’s Muthaiga North has broken his silence.
Paul Ndiritu Ndungu of Ndun’gu Njoroge and Kwach Advocates who USIU had earlier enjoined as a defendant will now be a witness for the university in the high stakes case and states that “he had no motive to defraud the former President as alleged by Ngatia and Associates, Moi’s lawyers in the suit, since he did not stand to benefit in any way from the alleged fraud.” He did not get any part of the sale proceeds or a portion of the land in question.
The lawyer and the University reached the decision by consent, the trial court in Nairobi was told.
Ndungu states in a signed witness statement that he has a firm grip on the transactions leading to the transfer of the suit property from its former owner, retired President Moi to the period 1997 to 1999 when his firm acted for USIU when the institution bought the property from ICEA.
ICEA had acquired the land from DPS International, the company which bought it from the former President in 1988.
He also states that a claim by Moi that he did not sign the transfer document to DPS International is untrue as he “personally saw Moi sign both the agreement and the transfer” at State House, Nairobi, where he had gone accompanied by the later Arthur Magugu in the latter’s car.
The original document, according to the lawyer, has been subjected to forensic examination and bears Moi’s authentic signature.
Moi has further alleged that the transfer in favour of DPS was drawn without his consent.
He first transferred the property in Muthaiga North estate, Nairobi, to DPS International Limited on November 10, 1988, while he was still President a transaction he objects to and claims to have been fraudulent.
USIU has sued the former President and a developer Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd which claims to have bought the property from Moi last year.
The former President appeared to have sold the land to two different buyers by two separate transfers over the same property, after a company associated with Equity bank boss James Mwangi also laid claim on the property stating it bought it from Moi in 2013.
Moi reported the title deed was lost in 2013 and he applied for and was issued with a fresh title deed which was used to sell the land to Mwangi at Sh300 million.
He again applied for yet a further title two years later again claiming to have lost the original title which was used to sell the land to a developer Dr George Kiongera of Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd 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.
After 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.
The Gazette notice said 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.”
Moi owned the land until November 10, 1988 when he sold it to DPS International Ltd who later transferred it to ICEA.
Ndungu states that Moi in implicating him “is suggesting that in 1984, when he was still President of Kenya, it was possible for an ordinary Kenyan to sneak into State House or in one of his private residences and walk away with his title deeds.”
He further states that the law is clear on the procedures when an owner wishes to change the user or amalgamate his land; it begins with an application to the commissioner of Lands.
“The transfer by DPS to ICEA was prepared and registered by ICEA advocates Daly and Figgis copies are available at Lands office,” Ndungu states adding that for Ngatia and Associates to claim in court documents that the transfer was prepared and drawn and processed by Paul Ndiritu Ndungu and the firm of Ndungu Njoroge and Kwach is outrightly malicious and misleading to court,” the lawyer adds.
He has also questioned why Moi has not come clean to explain why in 2012 and again in 2016 he applied to be issued with a duplicate title LR 12422/19 which was used to sell the plot to Muthaiga luxury Homes limited and Maestro Connections Health Systems limited respectively disregarding that LR no. 12422/19 had ceased to exist upon amalgamation with LR No 12422/18 way back in 1984.
“An application for a duplicate title entails filing an affidavit with the registrar explaining the circumstances, under which the original title deed was lost and undertaking to surrender the original title if found…if Ngatia and associates are to be believed then Moi had two title deeds for the same plot,” the statement reads.
Ndungu has also stated that after being mentioned severally that he forged Moi’s signature to transfer the property in 1988 to DPS, he painstakingly undertook to engage an ex -FBI world re-known document examiner to examine the deed transfer and that her report was that indeed Moi’s signature is on the 1988 transfer document.
“She insisted on seeing the original transfer, which I made available, her report was that the signature on the 1988 transfer to DPS is indeed Moi’s,” Ndungu states.
Related to the forensic examination, in contrast to relying on original documents the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who examined the 1988 transfer were provided with a copy(not original as required by law) on which they produced a report with the findings that the signatures were not made by the same author..”
Ndungu has also questioned why he should have been involved in forgery while there is no suggestion that he was a beneficiary in any way. “What the authors of these allegations have failed to do is to demonstrate what my motives were and what benefits I derived from my alleged criminal activities.