Investigations into how members of a self-help group allegedly conned livestock keepers of Sh1.8 million have been finalised.
According to County Commissioner Kula Hache, 24 members of a self-help group in Taita sub-county conned the eight herders on the pretext that they could lease them grazing land on a ranch that they claimed to own.
Documents seen by The Standard show that members of the Kengecha Kishushe Self-Help Group signed a 10-year-lease agreement with the herders to allow them to graze their livestock on land belonging to Kishushe Ranching Cooperative Society Limited.
Ms Hache said the ranch is about 60,000 acres. The herders had been allocate 48,000 acres.
Hache said the lease documents indicate that the herders paid more than Sh1.8 million in advance to the self-help group, which was registered by the Government on May 23 this year.
In addition, the herders were required to pay Sh50,000 grazing fees monthly.
“The money was paid to the group members, who shared it among themselves,” Hache said.
Taita OCPD Benjamin Muhia and area DCIO Eunice Maingi said the money was paid on May 30 this year.
“Three livestock dealers who gave out the money and the ranch owners have recorded a statement,” said Ms Maingi.
Real land owners
Mr Muhia said the group leased out the ranch without the authority of the real land owners.
Speaking yesterday when she distributed 50 bags of rice, 25 bags of beans, and 700kg of green gram to the residents of Kishushe, Maingi said no one involved in the scandal would be spared.
She added that a chief who witnessed the signing of the illegal agreement was being investigated and would face the law if found culpable.
Investigations began after the management of the ranch complained that armed herders had invaded their land.