Former Kenya ICT Ministry’s Bitange Ndemo and current adviser to ICANN indicted over Lucrative Konza Land deal

Bitange Ndemo /Courtesy

The Kenyan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has put high profile personalities in Kenya, including former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications Dr Bitange Ndemo, of misconduct in connection to the sale of the Malili Ranch site for the Konza Technopolis.

Dr. Bitange Ndemo is a Senior lecturer at University of Nairobi and is also involved in several internet governance forums and panels including ICANN. He is a Honorary Chair of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) and an Advisor to the Better than Cash Alliance, a global initiative to digitize payments.

Sh1 billion Malili ranch scandal

The Police want Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, former PS. Bitange Ndemo and Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua charged with fraud and have subsequently written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, recommending their arrest and six others after obtaining evidence linking them to fraud, theft and forgery in the Sh1 billion Malili ranch scandal. Others to be enjoined include Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) commissioner Kamotho Waiganjo, Mr James Waweru, formerly of the Attorney General’s office and former Lands Commissioner Zablon Mabea. Reports Nation Media.

Konza City

According to the CID investigations there were irregularities as alleged by the shareholders, Ndemo is said to have presented an offer letter to Malili Ranch without conducting a search at the Registration of Lands. He is further alleged to have ignored directives of the Solicitor General on, “sale agreement and the percentage of money to be paid before the process commences as an undertaking.” Reports Capital news.

The CID says it has already written to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko recommending prosecution of the former PS charged for not taking due diligence while acquiring the 5,000 acre piece of land with shareholders of the land saying they had not authorized for its sale.Other shareholders say they are yet to get any money from the sale while those who have received the money say they were underpaid with many getting between 160,000 to 460,000 shillings against the expected 1.56 million shillings. It is however the law society boss Eric Mutua who is alleged to be the main mastermind in the scandal.

Mutua is said to have irregularly paid 147.6 million shillings for plots to the government and was also unable to account for over 14.5 million shillings found in his account as well as an extra Sh9.3 million in interest earned on a fixed deposit account bearing proceeds of the sale. Reports CIO East Africa.

ICANN appointment and the .Africa controversy

Bitange who is now serving on the ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation, is also reputed to have supported the South African bid to .Africa instead of Kenya based and initiated DotConnectAfrica. Kenyans have thus accused him of personal interest ahead of the nations’ thereby letting them down. Despite, DCA was later endorsed by his own Minister, Hon. Phogisio leaving the Kenya position ambiguous.

ICANN on the other hand is also accused to be in favor of the South African bid in the way they have controversially handled DotConnectAfrica’s bid, which is now in Independent Review Proceeding under an international tribunal at the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) based in New York.

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