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Three family members jailed for fraud

Three family members have been jailed for five years after they were found guilty of defrauding a city trader Sh90 million in a fake land deal.

Four other members of the same family including a mother and her two daughters have been slapped with a Sh1.2 million fine for acquiring property using money from proceeds of crime.

Francis Kinyanujui Kiruthi, Ngai Njeru and Irene Wangui Waweru were jailed by former Milimani law courts chief magistrate Martha Mutuku who’s since been transferred to Mombasa in the same capacity.

Ms Mutuku also handed Reginah Njeri Kinyanjui, Charity Mumbu Njue, Gerald Maina Guchu and Annah Wambui Waweru with the fine. In the alternative, they will each serve a year in jail.

In her sentence Ms Mutuku said Kinyanjui, Njeru and Wangui deserved custodial sentences since they were the masterminds of the fraud.“The first, second and third accused persons masterminded the crime which they executed,” she ruled.

She said the three connived to defraud George Gacheru Mungai, the proprietor of Thorn Hills Holdings Limited (THHL) the millions in March and April 2011.

They opened an account at Prime Bank Limited, Riverside Branch where they siphoned the proceeds of crime to.

Lawyer Charles Mugane applied to have the property recovered from the seven convicts be restituted to for Mungai and THHL.Mr Mugane told Ms Mutuku the property comprising, two high end vehicles, a lorry, parcels of land in Nairobi and Ruiru plus developed plots in prime areas be recovered.

“The properties acquired from the proceeds of crime are to remain in situ (in the hands of police) at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters while Mugane awaits the outcome of an application filed at the high court for restitution, Ms Mutuku ruled in her virtual sentence from Mombasa Law Courts.

Convicting the seven, Ms Mutuku said they took the money pretending they would sell to the trader a 100-acre parcel of land in Kajiado County 11 years ago.

Ms Mutuku said the prosecution led by Ms Pamela Venda had proven the case against each of the convicts beyond reasonable doubts. The value of the Kajiado land is Sh5 billion.

Ms Mutuku ruled Kinyanjui, Ngai and Irene defrauded Mungai and THHL in March and April 2011.

They received the payments in two tranches of Sh9 million and Sh81million respectively on March 9 and April 11 2011 at the Prime Bank Limited, Riverside Branch in Nairobi.

The court heard that after pocketing the proceeds of crime, the convicts purchased various properties Nairobi and Ruiru. They purchased vehicles, palatial homes, and tracts of land which have since been recovered and are in the hands of police.

The court was told that Kinyanjui, Ngai, and Irene approached Mungai pretending they had a 100-acre parcel of land in Kajiado County that they wanted to sell.

They even provided Mungai with a forged title deed.

The magistrate said the main witness Daniel ole Muyaa, a former Kajiado County Council Chairman, said the original owner of the 100-acre parcel of land was the late Karei ole Dagome.

Mr Ole Muyaa told the court that ole Dagome’s widow confirmed to him that her late husband had sold some 100 acres of land to Mr Bedan Mbugua whose title deed was later forged then used to defraud Mr Mungai the colossal sum. The court dismissed defences by Charity, Gerald, Annah and Reginah that they did not know the money they used to purchase property in Nairobi and Ruiru plus posh vehicles were proceeds of crime. Ms Venda asked the court to treat the convicts as first offenders. The fraudsters were given 14 days to appeal against the sentence.