Three members of a housing cooperative society on Friday, July 23, filed a case in court seeking to institute private prosecution against Telkom Chief Executive Officer Michael Ghossein and its board members for illegally selling part of their property to a third party at an estimated price of Ksh1.5 billion.
According to documents filed in court, Postal Housing cooperative society limited and its members Henry Belsoi, Amson Kibii and Stephen Magoma want to be allowed to privately prosecute the CEO Ghoseein, Lois Allella, Secretary of Telkom Kenya and five others for allegedly engaging in the sale of 60 acres of land of the 79-acre parcel of land along Ngong road being Land registration number 7656.
The applicants argue that that the DPP has failed and refused to institute prosecution against the Ghoseein, Allella and Telcom board members Mugo Mbati Dr Eddy Njoronge, Jinaro Kibet, Dorcas Kombo and Sayyid Said who are listed as interested parties despite the case having been reported to him and numerous reminders to its office.
“That unless the interested parties are prosecuted at this point in time we are likely to suffer irreparable damage given that the government of Kenya has compulsorily acquired the land and might end up compensating the wrong beneficiaries due to the fraudulent transaction initiated by the DPP,” reads the court papers.
Belsoi, Kinii and Magoma who are also former employees of the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC) claim that the board members of Telkom took part in arriving at the decision to illegally sell the said property to AFTRACO.
According to court documents filed at the Milimani Magistrates Court, Postal was formed in 1992 following a decision of the board of KPTC to develop affordable houses for sale to its senior staff including the applicants.
In effect of the decision, the KPTC board resolved to exercise and sell to Postal 60 acres out of the 79 acres parcel of land along Ngong road.
The agreed purchase price for the property was Ksh 350,000 per acre, totalling Ksh 21 million for the 60-acre parcel of land.
Evidence and confirmation of the disposal of the 60 acres of the property to Postal are to be found in a special gazette notice dated November 5, 1999.
The members’ lawyer John Oscar Juma claims that going by the sale of agreement dated January 19, 1993, Postal was to pay the purchase price immediately upon transfer of the property to their name.
“For unknown reasons, Telkom has to date failed to effect the transfer despite holding funds well beyond the required purchase price,” says Juma.
The members now claim that Telkom is attempting to dispose of the entire property measuring 79 acres to a third party being AFTRACO at a price of Ksh1.5 billion which is way below the current market value of KSh14 billion.
The decision to dispose off the property to AFTRACO was made and arrived at by Ghossein, Allella, Mugo Kibati, Dr Eddy Njoroge, Jinaro Kibet, Dorcas Kombo and Sayyid Said who are board members of Telkom.
“The said action is not only fraudulent and criminal but also meant to defraud us our right over the asset and deny us an opportunity to be compensated by the National Oland Commission, which is set to acquire the said land for public use,”
Postal indicates that the current valuation of the property is well beyond Ksh 1.5 billion being offered. The last valuation done on the property at the request of Telkom itself returned a value of KSh14 billion.
Telkom Kenya is one of the successors of Kenya Post Telecommunications Corporation.
Postal members say the Director of Public Prosecutions has failed and refused to institute prosecution against Telkom CEO and board members despite the case having been reported to him and numerous reminders to his office.
“That the laxity on the part of DPP is likely to cause a grave social evil against the applicants not only as members of the public but also as beneficiaries of the 60 acres out of the 79-acre parcel of land owned by Postal along Ngong road,” they argue.
According to the land has been forcibly taken over by Kenya Stadia Board which is building a stadium on the said land.
However, Milimani senior principal magistrate Kenneth Cheruiyot has satisfied the matter as urgent and directed the postal members in the matter to file their pleading before August 5 before the hearing of the case.