From a casual look, there is nothing special about the estate standing behind Mugoya Phase IV estate and directly opposite the head offices of the Kenya Institute of Management in Nairobi’s South C area. The finishing of the perimeter wall of the gated-community estate lacks the finesse you would expect of a property of it’s worth.The only conspicuous thing about the estate is its green tile roofing visible only from the skyline of the unusually high perimeter fence.
Behind the gates of this multi-billion estate resides an exclusive Somali-only population. The estate is strictly outof- bounds for visitors unless accompanied by a resident. When our investigative team visited the estate posing as tenants in search of a house, a nononsense security officer said there was no house available either for letting or sale. “Just look for a house elsewhere”, he said with finality. On the gate to the estate, a notice in bold letters screams “The Gate Must Must Be Kept Closed At All Times.” Just next to the gate is a building whose entry is secured with high oak door with arabic patterns. It is a Madrassa but no one knows for sure what else is taught inside.
After they were denied entry, our investigative team managed to meet sources who know one or two things about the exclusive estate. “Only Somalis from Somalia live here”, one source told our team. “No one else can get a house here.” But the mystery goes beyond the question of why people of other nationalities are not allowed to live in this property. Documents in our possession show that the purported owner of the property used the name of the former ruling party, KANU, to grab land on which it sits. The trail of documents and court proceedings seen by The People, indicate that Abdirahman Muhumed Abdi who claims ownership of the 7.6 acre property, “acquired” it with assistance of a highly placed KANU official in 2005. With land prices in South C averaging Sh150 million an acre, the land in question could be valued approximately at Sh1.35 billion.
Abdi has since put up and sold 200 houses in the land. Valuers estimate that the houses have a market value of between Sh10-15 million. This would put the value of the property with the buildings at between Sh3-4 billion. Documents in our possession show that the land was allocated to the group of 126 squatters in 1988 who had come together as Imbani Dispensary Society. The link-men in KANU who facilitated transfer to the new “owner” is former Kenyan ambassador to China Julius Sunkuli, then party treasurer, and then party vice chairman Noah Katana Ngala. It is Sunkuli and Ngala acting as KANU trustees who signed the purported transfer of the land from KANU to Abdi in February 2005. Fake title But the title-deed transferred to Abdi was fake. It was purportedly issued to former president slums on the borders of the Nairobi National Park in the early 1980’s. They were mainly engaged in farming on the edges of the park where they had put up temporary structures. When, in 1981, the government moved the national park boundary inwards, the squatters took advantage of it and Daniel Moi, Ngala and Sunkuli in the name of a non existent entity called KANU Headquarters in 1987.
To title was purportedly transferred by KANU to the new owner at a consideration of Sh21million when the deal was concluded on the 16th of February 2005. The fraudulent deal was to be exposed three years later by then KANU executive director, now Solicitor General Njee Muturi. In a sworn affidavit, Muturi said the land in question could never have belonged to KANU. National park Said he: “I make this affidavit to set the record straight as regards the allegation that the suit property was owned by KANU and wish to state and confirm that the suit property was never owned by KANU at all. There is no entity known as KANU Headquarters.” In what is an apparent case of impunity, even after it was proven in court that Abdi purported title-deed was a forgery, no arrest or prosecution took place.
A month after the fraudulent transaction was exposed, Abdi went to court and, surprisingly, extracted an order to evict the squatters occupying the controversial piece of land. Overnight, the squatters were thrown into the streets and the structures they occupied demolished. Court documents indicate that Abdi then subdivided the land into two parcels and split them into a hundred plots each. The spokesman for the squatters, James Matenge, says that the landless group approached the government in the early 1980’s for allocation of the land. He says members of his group began living in Mitumba applied to be allowed to occupy the vacant land created. Recalls the spokesman for the squatters:
“We identified a portion of land measuring 7.6 acre and launched an application with the ministry of Lands.” It took the squatters seven years from the day they launched the application to raise the required amount before they could have their titledeed processed. Eventually in 1988 they raised enough cash and were issued, first with an allotment letter, followed by a title-deed. Matenge says that in 2005, the former group of former squatters subdivided the land among its 126 members and started putting up more decent houses. Their dream was however, cut short, when in February 2005, the new “owner” of the land, Abdi, descended with an eviction order and an army of thugs to execute the order.