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How city land dealers swindled millions from Chinese investors

Chinese investors have temporarily stopped the planned construction of a world class Sh200 billion business hub in Athi River, claiming they are being targeted by fraudsters.


The entrepreneurs have also halted another major project on Muringa Road that would have seen the construction of 47 multistorey apartments on 2.23 acres.

The Kenya China Economic Zone Investment Development Company, comprising several Chinese and Kenyan businessmen was set for ground-breaking this year, but that was postponed following increased cases of land fraud targeting Chinese investors.

The firm had acquired land in Athi River, Machakos County, to build several storey buildings, including an industrial park for the assembly of Chinese products in Kenya, a show ground, a major information centre, a stadium, a school and an exhibition centre.


“We have been forced to stop the project due to increasing cases of fraud targeted at Chinese investors by local and international con men,” said Prof Guo Dong, the architect of the Athi River project.

Prof Guo said that although land had been acquired, Chinese investors who were to fund the project had developed cold feet due to high level of fraud involved in land deals in Kenya.

Up to three or four Chinese companies are embroiled in battles to salvage fortunes spent in savoury land deals that have gone awry.

Businessman Li Wen Jie, who is still living in Kenya, is facing a number of fraud cases involving fishy land buying deals after his attempts to connect Chinese real estate investors to land vendors in Kenya turned nasty.

Another mega real estate investment plan launched by suspended Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu in Kilimani area has also been stopped after fraud related cases involving the acquisition emerged.

Catham, a Chinese company, paid Sh200 million for the Muringa Road land, only for two firms to emerge after the ground breaking ceremony, claiming the same land.


Samvo Ltd, a company associated with Sarova Group of Hotels and Delta Haulage Services Ltd are in court claiming ownership of the land sold to Catham by businessmen Christopher Mugonye Wamae and Alexander Kungu Maina in 2013.

It is after the cases were filed that it emerged that acts of forgery to defraud the Chinese investors may have been committed during the transaction.

Several forged bank statements and other government documentation have been presented to court accusing Mr Li of conspiring with some Kenyans to defraud the Chinese investors.

Mr Li, who co-owned Catham with Prof Guo, has attempted to eject his former partner, who owned 850 shares, from a Sh250 million company, leading to a protracted court battle that has seen bank accounts frozen as the two fight for the control of the company.