Judge allows sacco to sue ex-Telkom boss over Sh1.5b land dispute

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Telkom Kenya Chief Executive officer Mickael Ghossein address journalist during the Orange 1st Anniversary held at Telkom Plaza on 17 September 2009. Photo/Fredrick Onyango

A Nairobi court has allowed a sacco to start private criminal prosecution against a former Chief Executive Officer of Telkom Kenya and its board over a Sh1.5 billion land deal.

In a ruling delivered by Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot, the court allowed Postel Housing Co-operative Society Limited to prosecute former Telkom CEO Michael Ghossein, the Secretary to the Board Lois Allela and its board members over alleged fraudulent sale of the land worth Sh14 billion.

“The applicant (Postel Housing Co-operative Society Limited) is hereby granted leave to institute and proceed with private prosecution proceedings against Ghoseein, Allella and Telkom board members namely Mugo Kibati, Eddy Njoroge, Jinaro Kibet, Dorcas Kombo and Sayyid Said who are listed as interested parties,” Cheruiyot ruled.

While allowing the application, Cheruiyot said evidence presented by the aggrieved sacco members was enough to sustain a criminal case against the intended accused persons. 

“I find that this application fits the criteria for a private prosecution as it has been demonstrated that reports were made to the DCI and DPP from October 5 last year setting out the complaint by the Sacco members but declined to take action in the matter having had an opportunity to do so,” ruled the magistrate.

Cheruiyot also ordered Postel Housing Co-Operative Society Limited to file a draft charge at the Milimani criminal registry by November 8, 2021 when the intended accused persons are expected to appear in court to answer charges.

He also directed lawyer Xavier Baraka for the Sacco members to serve the intended accused persons with summons to attend court that day to answer the charges drawn against them.

The former officials are expected to face charges of abuse of office, breach of trust, conspiracy to defraud and attempting to defraud.

Defunct KPTC

In his ruling, Cheruiyot said evidence presented by Postel sacco and its members Henry Belsoi, Amson Kibii and Stephen Magoma had proved ineptitude on the part of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in prosecuting the CEO and the others.

The sacco members moved to court in July this year seeking to privately prosecute the seven for illegally selling part of their property to a third party at an estimated price of Sh1.5 billion.

The land measuring 60 acres is along Ngong Road Nairobi County. In their evidence, Belsoi, Kibii and Magoma said the 60 acres is part of a 79 acre parcel of land acquired by the Defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporations (KPTC) in January 19, 1993.

The land was being acquired to develop residential houses for the sacco members.

The members bought the land at Sh21 million but “it was never transferred to them by Telkom for unknown reasons despite holding the funds far beyond the required purchase price.”

Cheruiyot said the sacco members claim the land was sold at a price too far below the market rate by the intended accused persons.

The members say they came to learn that Telkom attempted to sell the land in dispute to Aftraco at Sh1.5 billion yet the current market value for the 79 acres is Sh14 billion.

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