Friday, 10 April 2015


P. O. BOX 55021 – 00200
10th April 2015
My name is James Orengo. I am the Senator for Siaya County. I am also a Senior Counsel and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. I have previously served in parliament as a member of the National Assembly for several terms. Between April 2008 and March 2013 I was a member of the Cabinet as Minister for Lands in the Grand Coalition Government.
I received a letter dated 2nd April 2015 from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission inviting me for an interview and to record a statement on allegations of corruption regarding the allocation of parcel of land I.R No. 861. I therefore wish to state as follows.
On 26th March 2015 the President of the Republic of Kenya availed to Parliament an alleged report on the status of corruption matters under investigation dated 20th March 2015 which was purportedly authored by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. The authenticity or legality of the report, which is neither signed nor sealed, has been challenged even by officers within your Commission.
The report contains three allegations against me which appear on pages 13 and 14 of the report. In your letter dated 2nd April 2015 inviting me for an interview and recording of a statement you have referred to only one single allegation. I therefore assume that the other allegations have no basis or justification whatsoever. Hence your decision not to require an interview or statement on them.
I have however chosen to deal with all the allegations for reasons stated at the end of this statement.
1. IRN 861
a) This parcel of land is situated in Maraboi Trading Centre in Kericho County and contains by measurement 0.1194 of an acre. The trading centre is very close to Sondu, a big market which traverses both Kericho and Kisumu Counties.
b) My father bought the property, which had a shop at the time, in 1964 from the proceeds of his retirement benefits having honourably retired from Kenya Police Service. The previous owners were Hirji Kalidas, Maganlal Hirji and Jayantilal Hirji. This was the only parcel of land owned by my father at the time of his death and the only parcel of land forming part of his estate when he died in 1965.
c) My father died when I was a Form One student at Alliance High School. Because he died intestate the Public Trustee became the administrators of the estate.
d) On 26th January 1968 by virtue of grants of letters of administration dated 25th April 1967 the property was registered in the name of the Public Trustee as the personal representative of my deceased father.
e) On 6th March 1975 the Public Trustee transferred the land to Josfina Atieno Olunga Orengo (my mother, now deceased), Anna Ongare Olunga (my step-mother, now deceased), James Orengo, Omondi Orengo (my brother), Okoth Orengo (my brother, now deceased), Owino Orengo (my brother) and Mary Awuor (my sister, now deceased) in equal shares.
f) On 19th March 2008, the lease having expired and following the death of my family members, I requested through a formal application, the Commissioner of Lands to allocate the land to me. Although an initial process was commenced by the office of the Commissioner of Lands, I did not get title to the land and I decided to abandon the application by not following it up. There was nothing illegal or inappropriate that I did in making a request on the strength of my father’s and my own personal interest in the land. At the time of his death my father never held any other property. Not even from the Puny or Masiro Komolo clan. For our family 0. 1194 acres of land was a jewel wrapped in gold. To date I do not own any residential, commercial or agricultural land in any part of Kenya except my rural home and small parcels of peasant land in North and East Ugenya wards of Siaya County. And I am very happy with that.
g) I have enclosed the following documents;
• Grant IRN 861 in the name Hirji Kalidas, Maganlal Hirji and Jayantilal Hirji.
• Memorandum of Registration of Transfer of Lands transferring the land from Hirji Kalidas, Maganlal Hirji and Jayantilal Hirji to Apollo Stefano Olunga Orengo dated 19th November 1964.
• Memorandum of Registration of Transfer of Lands transferring the land from the estate of Apollo Stefano Olunga Orengo to the Public Trustee 26th January 1968.
• Memorandum of Registration of Transfer of Lands transferring the land from the Public Trustee to Josfina Atieno Olunga Orengo, Anna Ongare Olunga, James Orengo, Omondi Orengo, Okoth Orengo, Owino Orengo and Mary Awuor dated 9th April 1975.
• Instrument/deed of transfer signed and sealed by Mr. David John Coward, the Public Trustee presented to the Land Titles Registry, Nairobi, transferring the land to Josfina Atieno Olunga Orengo, Anna Ongare Olunga, James Orengo, Omondi Orengo, Okoth Orengo, Owino Orengo and Mary Awuor.
I do not understand the nature of the complaint in the context of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act or the provisions of the Constitution and other legislation on Leadership and Integrity or criminal law.
I invite you to examine the manifests of all helicopter flights from Nairobi to Jinja to determine whether I have ever made the alleged flights. The straight answer is no.
I have never been confronted with this allegation although it was reported on 18th October 2012. I have not dealt with the land in any official or private capacity. The allegations are absurd, wild and false. Nobody has approached me or asked me in any way to dispose or take part in the disposal of or deal with the land in any way. I wrote yesterday to the Government of Nairobi City County requesting documentation on this matter and received the following documents and others through my own investigations.
• Memo to the Governor from the Legal Affairs Department dated 8th April 2014. This is a summarised report on LR No. 1870/1/217 – IR No. 98583 Ring Road, Westlands. The Report gives the entire history of the land since it was allocated to the defunct City Council of Nairobi for a term of 99 years expiring on 1st May 2003 to the presence time.
• An application for a search carried out on 8th October 2007 by James Kirumba Ndungu I/D 22955857 on behalf of Sato Properties Limited.
• Grant No IR 98583 made to Baumann Engineering Limited together with information on instruments registered against the title from 22nd August 2005 to 20th December 2010 which include a caveat, a transfer and a charge.
• A Replying Affidavit sworn on 24th September 1999 by Basinah Ndila Mule, an officer in the Ministry of Lands in Nairobi Civil Suit No 891 of 1998 (05) between Zaverchand Ramji Shah and the Registrar of Titles and Antow Trading Company Limited.
• Order of Lady Justice H.M. Okwengu in Civil Appeal No 72 of 2008 between the City Council of Nairobi and Sato Properties Limited and Others.
• A brief report on an attempt to grab City Council property LR No 1870/1/217 – Grant No IR 98583 – Ring Road Westlands. The report by Bernard M. Mate, Director of Investigations and Information Analysis, to the Town Clerk of the defunct City Council of Nairobi dated 23rd November 2011 noted that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Eng E. K. Mwongera had written to the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department on 30th June 2006 calling on the police to investigate the fraudulent registration of the land. It further notes that the Chief Land Registrar wrote to Baumann Company Limited on 22nd June 2005 notifying the management of the said company that they had obtained registration of the grant by fraud. The same letter accuses Sato Properties Limited of having registered the grant in the year 2006 after colluding with corrupt land officials and that Sato Properties Limited had bought the property on the strength of a fake grant.
• Letter dated 22nd June 2005 to Baumann & Company Ltd from Mrs J. M. Okungu, Commissioner of Lands informing the company that no stamp duty had been paid and the penal consequences of such misconduct or offence.
• The letter dated 30th June 2005 to Joseph M. Kamau, Director of Criminal Investigation Department asking the police to carry out investigation of the fraud and in particular indentify the officers from the Ministry of Lands who could have been involved on account of non payment of stamp duty and fraudulent ‘stamping’ of the deed transfer for purposes of purporting to show payment of stamp duty.
• A bundle of documents including pleadings, Notice of Motion, affidavits and skeleton submissions in Nairobi High Court Civil Suit No 935 of 2012 between Sato Properties Limited vs the City Council of Nairobi, the Commissioner of Lands and Others and Chief Magistrate Court Criminal Case No. 649 of 1992: Republic vs. Mahmoud Tarus and Zavechand Ramji Shah involving the offence of forgery contrary to section 349 of the Penal Code. Some of the pleadings and documents are dated as late as 2013.
The police have investigated this matter based on complaints from the Ministry of Lands. There are ongoing civil proceedings in the High Court where allegations of fraud have been made. The government of the Nairobi City County is still dealing with this matter on account of civil suits and payment of rates. It beats logic that in this saga which has spanned more than seventeen years that my name should be dragged in it.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution is based on the inherent dignity, self- autonomy and self-worth of every person. It enshrines and safeguards the reputation of every individual. It places on state organs and officers a responsibility and obligation to secure the right of every person to fair administrative action – that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair. If a right or fundamental freedom of a person has been or is likely to be adversely affected by government action, the person has the right to be given written reasons for the action.
The allegations against me were respectively made on 13th July 2011, 28th June 2012 and 18th October 2012 on matters which are easily detectable and verifiable. Four years down the line their status is characterised as “under investigations”. In those four years the Commission has not called me to respond to the allegations. The Commission is subject to the Constitution especially in matters that relate to the Bill of Rights, the Rule of Law, good governance and accountability as integral parts of the national values and principles of governance.
The Commission should not be turned into a depository or cesspool of gossip, trivia or tripe. It is a constitutional body. It is not an extra-legal formation or a political police force. The coercive power given to the Commission should not be turned into a mechanism available for the convenience of those who fail to succeed in using other competent and authorised institutions of government including the judiciary. It is not a modern day coliseum for political gladiators or an arena for settling political scores.
It is a penal offence for any person to give false information to a person employed in the public service knowing and believing that in the exercise of lawful power it will cause injury or annoyance. It is also an offence for any person, with intent to cause harm or injury to another person, to give or make to any officer having power to apprehend any information or complaint that he knows to be false. Nobody should be given the comfort of making false accusations and fabricating evidence.
On finding that the allegations made against me were false and without foundation, the Commission should have taken appropriate steps to deal with the complainants in accordance with the law, whoever they are. An investigation is never an inquisition. It cannot be used for an ulterior motive or purpose or to achieve a political objective unconnected or unrelated with the principles and goals of our criminal justice system or jurisprudence as proclaimed by the Constitution and the law.
This statement therefore constitutes a formal complaint to the Commission to take legal action within its mandate against those who have made against me three false and malicious allegations of the most vile and despicable kind.
Over the years I have worked as a civil servant, a member of parliament a Cabinet Minister and a practising advocate. I have operated several bank accounts which I am prepared to disclose to the Commission. I have been shocked with the suggestion that I may have benefited from corruption or economic crimes. The Lord forbid. I invite the Commission, at its convenience, to conduct a life style audit on me, determine whether I have any unexplained assets or if I hold any fruits of unjust enrichment. If judgement be that I am such a plunderer of public or private wealth or resources, then I am prepared to assume liability for the improper benefits unlawfully obtained, forfeit any unexplained assets and face the gauntlet meant for those who reap where they have not sown.
10TH APRIL 2015

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