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How NLC arrived at Weston ruling

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Details have emerged of how the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority put up a fight to repossess the land on which Weston Hotel stands.

The hotel situated along Lang’ata Road is owned by Deputy President William Ruto.

The Star yesterday obtained the full reports giving a blow by blow account of the KCAA’s submission to the National Land Commission, revealing how the land agency could have legitimised fraudulent acquisition of public land.

The KCAA strongly rejected counter submissions by Weston Hotel and instead laid bare how transactions for acquisition of the land might have been rushed to defeat public interest.

The KCAA revealed how after the hurried transactions went through, crucial documents were destroyed in a deliberate move to conceal the paper trail.

In a shock decision, NLC last week ruled that Ruto can keep the hotel but pay the government for it.

The commission ordered a revaluation of the prime piece of land to determine the current market price to facilitate Weston to buy the land as a reimbursement to the KCAA.

Read: NLC hands Weston to Ruto, KCAA protests

In May last year, Weston Hotel was valued at Sh300 million, according to a report by Zenith Management Valuers Ltd.

According to NLC, the KCAA will then find an alternative land of the same value to build its headquarters.

“Kenya Civil Aviation Authority having been restituted to its initial position only then can the commission regularise the title to Weston hotel,” NLC said in its surprise ruling.

But KCA protested the regularisation of the acquisition of the land by Weston, insisting facts regarding the authority’s ownership of the land were crystal clear and uncontested.

During the hearing, the position that the parcel of land measuring about 0.7733 hectares (about two acres) was the property of the KCAA was strongly argued out.

According to KCAA’s legal services manager who doubles up as the acting corporation secretary, Cyril Wayong’o, the parcel belonged to the East Africa Community which collapsed in 1977.

It had been developed and was being used as storage premises for the machinery and aviation equipment of the then Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA).

Some of the annexures tabled by the KCAA before the NLC showed that the Commissioner of Lands clearly acknowledged that the records held by his office were clear that the land/site had been reserved for KCAA.

Wayong’o said KCAA enjoyed peaceful active occupation and use of the land after acquisition.

However, the peaceful enjoyment of land was disrupted in 2002.

Wayong’o said the disruption came despite the fact that the parcel held sensitive navigation equipment and spares.

The NLC, in part of its recommendations, agrees with KCAA that the land had been acquired.

The commission found out that part of the development plan No.42.8.89.5A (approved) plan No. 342 expressly said that the plan was approved in October 29,1989, seven years before the two companies who were first allottees were registered.

Read: Ruto built Weston on aviation land – KCAA

During the hearing, KCB lawyer Martin Muge pleaded with NLC not to revoke the title, saying any move would have ramifications for the interests of the bank.

Present during deliberations on Monday were NLC vice chairperson Abigael Mukolwe, commissioners Abdulkadir Khalif, Clement Lenachuru, Emma Njogu, Rose Musyoka and Samuel Tororei.

On June 29, 1999, then Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita wrote to the Directorate of Civil Aviation, indicating he had received an application from a church group that wanted to build a church on the site.

On July 8, 1999, the Directorate of Civil Aviation objected and told Mwaita it had plans for the land, so it could not be allocated to third parties.

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Ahmed Abdullahi who appeared for the DP told the commissioners that the DP acquired the land in 2007 for Sh10 million from Priority Management Ltd and Monene Investments Limited.

Priority and Monene were the first allottees.

Wayong’o said it was previously not necessary to have land title documents for land owned by government agencies such as public schools, hospitals and road reserves.

“In fact, it was well known where such public utilities were located and the only form of securing the land was by fencing, active use of it and reservation of the same in the records at the Ministry of Lands. This is the case in respect of this parcel of land,”KCAA said.

NLC in its recommendations said they could not determine if the process of land allocation was illegal, null and void as none of the parties had presented evidence before it.

The commission, however, went ahead, to confirm that the parcel of land belonged to KCAA.

Further, NLC in its own admission found out that the letter of allotment issued to Priority and Monene was irregular and that Weston hotel are bona fide purchaser without any defect in the title.

While admitting that KCAA had lost an important asset, NLC further heaps blame on the aviation regulator for vacating the land without first finding out if an alternative was there for them.

Wayong’o, according to the report, told NLC that a number of Public officers who worked for DCA were in October 2002 allocated special assignment to transfer DCA’s Central Stores then located on the property.

More: How DP Ruto Acquired Weston Land, Documents Show Plot Belonged To The Public

At that time,the property had already been allocated in favour of Priority Limited and Monene Investments Limited by Letter of Allotment.

Wayong’o said the movement of their stores was a ploy to allow vacant possession of the property by Priority Limited and Monene Investments Limited.

“It’s also clear that the earlier attempts by the Commissioner of Lands to allocate this land to other parties had been effected and the same Commissioner of Lands facilitated the vacation of the land to facilitate the occupation by Priority Limited and Monene Investments Limited,”he said.

Wayong’o said there was no record availed or tabled by the those claiming land to show that DCA, KCAA Management or the Board actively participated by authorizing, conniving to the allocation or alienation of Land.

KCAA wanted to build its Headquarters in the piece of land.

The authority is housed in Aviation House within Kenya Airports Authority land at JKIA.

The five-storey building is on land leased from KAA.

However, NLC questioned the need for another headquarters saying “why do they need two headquarters.

KCAA however says it is a requirement of International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) that the Regulatory wing of the KCAA needs to be separated from the Services wing.

“The land to construct the headquarters of the Air Navigation Services wing is land parcel currently is being sought to be recovered from the illegal allottees,”KCAA said.

The aviation body also raised concerns about the proximity of the hotel to Wilson Airport, saying its presence poses hazard to air traffic.

NLC in its ruling argued that the concerns were not true as a KCAA building of the same nature and location could be as dangerous.

The Commission instead heaped the blame on the then commissioner of land Sammy Mwaita, ministry of land saying “they failed to act on the irregular allocation of the parcel.

Read: How Weston Hotel land was grabbed from KCAA

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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