The prosecution has closed its case against former Commissioner of
Lands Wilson Gachanja and two other senior lands ministry officers over the irregular allotment of Ksh 30 million public land to private individuals in
Kwale County in 1994.
The Investigation Officer Samuel Murage gave his evidence stating how Gachanja, former Coast provincial lands officer Zablon Mabeya and former Kwale district physical planner Jabu Salim Mohamed approved an allotment of the beach access road in favour of former Kwale Senator, the late Boy Juma Boy.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) forensic investigator told Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku that the late Boy sold the land to Galerius Investments Ltd for Ksh 6 million.
While being led by Principal Prosecution Counsel Alex Gituma, he further told the court that the private firm blocked the public from using the land to access the beach prompting Kwale County Government to seek EACC to investigate ownership.
The court further heard that the allocation was done irregularly since the land status would have been degazetted from public to private before being allocated to private individuals.
He testified that his investigations led to the conclusion to charge the three top land ministry officials for irregular allocation of public land to private citizens.
Murage stated that Jabu and Mabeya prepared a false Part Development Plan (PDP) and an allotment letter respectively which Gachanja approved and further prepared a certificate of a lease for the Kwale/Diani/Beach Block/1072.
The 10th prosecution witness told the court the three senior officers abused their positions in doing so, hence prejudicing the public who did not participate in the whole process of allocating the land the government had allocated for access to the beach.
The witness who has over 10 years of forensic investigations told the court that the senior lands officers later unsuccessfully attempted to remedy the illegalities they had committed by revoking the allocation of the land to Galerius Investments Ltd.
Gachanja, Mabeya and Jabu are each charged with abuse of office, wilful neglect of official duty and aiding the commission of a felony.
Jabu allegedly prepared a false part development plan, an act the prosecution said was prejudicial to the rights of the Kwale County government.
Mabeya and Gachanja allegedly prepared a certificate of the lease in
favour of Galerius Investments Ltd over the beach access road.
The suspects are also allegedly aided and abetted by Galerius Investments Ltd to irregularly acquire the property between June 23 and August 10, 1994.
However, the investigation officer’s testimony resulted in the
prosecution making an application to amend the contents of four counts facing
Mabeya and Jabu.
The court allowed the charge sheet amended to reflect Mabeya's job title at the time the alleged offence occurred and Jabu’s involvement in the PDP preparation.
Mabeya allegedly abused the authority of his office while being a senior lands officer, preparing a letter of allotment in favour of Boy Juma Boy over a beach access road as Kwale/Diani/Beach Block/1072.
Jabu’s fourth count was amended to state that he wilfully neglected to perform his assigned public duties by preparing a false Part Development Plan (PDP).
The case has been scheduled for mention on 16th January 2023 when the court will confirm the date of filing of submissions by parties.