Lawyer takes fresh plea in Sh100m fraud case

A Mombasa lawyer accused of illegally transferring Sh100 million property took a fresh plea alongside a businessman he is said to have helped to unlawfully acquire the property.

While lawyer Angelo Owino on Monday answered nine charges, Mr Douglas Mwangi Muteru faced six counts of fraud.

The joint charges include obtaining registration of a land certificate by false pretence, conspiracy to commit a felony, forgery of land certificate, making a false document with intent to defraud, fraudulently altering land documents and intermeddling in the property of a deceased person.

LAND
They were accused of wilfully procuring a land certificate for the property of Bashir Meraj Din Ahmed Bux in the names of Douglas Mwangi Muteru and Samuel Wachira.

The suspects are accused of committing the six offences jointly with others not before court between January 25 and April 9, 2010.

Mr Owino faces three additional counts of preparing documents while being unqualified to act as an advocate.

The court heard that he prepared two transfer-of-land instruments and transferred the said property to Muhiddin Alhamad Mohamed as vendor and Mr Muteru and Mr Wachira as buyers and prepared a land sale agreement.

NOT GUILTY
Mr Muteru, who was unrepresented, and Mr Owino, represented by lawyer Edward Gichana who was holding brief for Gikandi Ngibuini, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Mr Gichana had earlier requested that the hearing be adjourned to February next year since Mr Gikandi is involved in an election petition that will be concluded within six months.

Principal prosecuting counsel Jami Yamina opposed the application.

BOND
The magistrate however ruled that no compelling reasons were provided to adjourn the hearing for six months.

The court directed Mr Gikandi to appear in person on Monday next week to agree with the prosecution and the court when the case will be fixed for hearing.

Each of the suspects was released on a Sh500,000 bond or a cash bail of Sh100,000.

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