Thika land official under probe over 17 high-end vehicles, 106 prime properties

The High Court has frozen 106 plots of land, 17 vehicles and cash belonging to a senior official in the Ministry of Lands who is suspected of having acquired them corruptly.

High Court Judge Esther Maina allowed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to keep the properties belonging to Fellix Mecha Nyakundi for a period of six months.

Mr Nyakundi, a senior land registrar in Thika, was being investigated for alleged misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office and unexplained wealth.

“That pending the conclusion of the investigations, there is an urgent need to preserve the said assets by prohibiting the transfer or disposal or any other dealing with the said properties,” the EACc said through lawyer Mr Nyoike.

The EACC said Mr Nyakundi acquired 106 properties scattered across the country, 17 motor vehicles and Sh4.6 million in cash, which was seized from him when officers raided his home.

A ‘significant number of title deeds to land, motor vehicles and bank accounts’ were also seized.

The court was told that the EACC was concerned that the official might transfer the properties, sell them at a loss and jeopardise the recovery process.

“It is therefore necessary to prohibit any dealings with the above-mentioned assets while the Commission is concluding its investigations in order to avoid a situation where the investigations and the intended recovery or restitution proceedings may be complicated or rendered nugatory altogether,” said lawyer Pius Nyoike for the EACC.

The court heard that preliminary investigations had revealed that Mr Nyakundi had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known legitimate sources of income.

“We intend to analyse the documents seized in the course of the search and we have reasonable apprehension that in view of the above discovery and ongoing investigations, the said properties are at risk of being transferred, sold, encumbered or otherwise wasted, thereby jeopardising the recovery,” the anti-graft body said in the application.

The EACC said it obtained the orders to investigate Mr Nyakundi over allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.

After obtaining the orders, the agency searched his home, business and office premises and found a significant number of ownership documents relating to land, vehicles and bank accounts.

The corruption watchdog argued that Mr Nyakundi had amassed wealth disproportionate to his legitimate source of income.

The agency said the intended recovery would take time and it was prudent to issue an order to preserve the vehicles, properties and money to prevent the official from disposing of them.

Some of the properties targeted are in Kisii, Kilifi, Nairobi, Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos counties.

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