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City lawyer accused by widow of theft and sale of family land

A Nairobi lawyer will face charges of professional misconduct before the Law Society of Kenya Advocates Disciplinary Tribunal following a complaint of fraud by a 73-year-old widow.

The LSK deputy secretary of Compliance and Ethics Florence Muturi on Saturday confirmed they would prefer charges against Mr Thomas Thuku Ng’ang’a before the disciplinary tribunal.

Mrs Mary Karanja is accusing the lawyer of fraudulently excising part of her 24-acre parcel of land with an estimated market value of Sh1.5 billion in Nairobi’s Ruai area and disposing of the plots to unsuspecting buyers without her consent.

FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS

In her complaint, Mrs Karanja, the administrator of her husband’s estate, is urging the LSK to investigate Mr Thuku’s conduct and involvement in all the fraudulent transactions regarding her late husband’s properties  and in particular LR 9363/65.

She further wants the lawyer’s body to restrain Mr Thuku from collecting money derived from the illegal sale of her property through Giathieko Bypass Ltd, a company she claims was registered by the lawyer to pass off as her husband’s firm, Giathieko Enterprises Ltd.

The widow has reported the lawyer’s fraudulent deals to the directorate of criminal investigations seeking his arrest to face the court. She has also informed the National Land Commission, the Department of Urban Planning in Nairobi County and the Lands ministry.

Mr Thuku on Saturday denied the accusations and threatened to sue Mrs Karanja for defamation. He, however, confirmed he was summoned at the CID offices and said he still continues to have meetings with them over the allegations.

LIVING NIGHTMARE

Mrs Karanja says the last two years since her husband died have been a living nightmare. She wonders how a lawyer entrusted to file her succession matter could turn against her.

Mr Thuku is a Githunguri-based lawyer with an office in Nairobi practicing as TT Njenga and Associates. Mrs Karanja’s woes began when her husband died on June 25, 2014.

Prior to his demise, Mr Karanja had appointed Mr Thuku to act on matters relating to the 24-acre parcel of land and the family later retained him to file the succession cause after his death.

However, the widow says she later realised Mr Thuku had acquired some parcels of the same land using Giathieko Bypass, a company he registered behind the family’s back.

According to records in the Department of Registrar General, Mr Thuku registered Giathieko Bypass on March 21, 2014, shortly before Mr Karanja died of bone cancer.

Giathieko Bypass has Mr Thuku as a director with 12 shares, the late Mr Stephen Karanja Kago (one share) and Mr Titus Mbugua Kaberi (two shares). Mr Kaberi is the widow’s son in law.

DIVIDED SHARES

The firm has a nominal share capital of Sh100,000 divided into 100 shares of Sh100 each.

But the widow says Mr Thuku registered the company with the sole motive of defrauding the family of their land. She wonders why the lawyer would allocate her husband one share and himself 12 shares with respect to land that belongs to the family.

The widow says when she realised Mr Thuku was selling the family land without her consent, she hired another advocate but Mr Thuku refused to release the succession files to the new advocate.

Documents in our possession show Mr Thuku through Giathieko Bypass fraudulently sold various parcels of land to Mr Michael Wanjau and Ms Roseline Wanjau and issued them with share certificates.

The widow further accuses the lawyer of forging a land sale agreement between her and Young Traders (Tigoni Ltd). She claims she had been asked to sign the sale documents but declined fearing he would use them to transfer the land parcel.