Greenhouse scam: State seeks to seize Sh1.5 billion property

Thursday, June 17th, 2021 00:00 | By
Goldenscape Group Ltd founder and CEO Peter Wangai when he was charged in a Nairobi court on March 18. Photo/PD/File

The government has initiated proceedings to attach property worth Sh1.5 billion belonging to Goldenscape Greenhouse Limited owner Peter Wangai as proceeds of crime.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) believes Wangai made the wealth used to acquire the property through money laundering.

On Tuesday, a court granted ARA an order blocking Wangai from selling or disposing of any of his property and vehicles in Nairobi and Nyahururu.

Five parcels of land are registered under Wangai’s name are in Ndururumo in Laikipia while ten are registered under the name of Ms Silverstone Limited in Ngong.

Several other parcels of land registered under Goldenscape Group are now subject to a court order “no dealing or transferring on the title,” meaning they cannot be sold or the ownership transferred.

Justice James Wakiaga stopped the businessman from selling or dealing with other properties including five motor vehicles and six motorcycles.

“An order is issued directing the respective Land registrars to register a caveat against the titles of each of the 16 land parcels specified in order,” ruled the judge.

Justice Wakiaga further directed the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to register a caveat against the titles or records of each of the motor vehicles and motor cycles owned by Wangai.

Some of the motor vehicles preserved by the government include Isuzu Como KCS 572N, Isuzu FVZ KCV 855M, Toyota Probox KCN 336 F, Isuzu BDG-NPR85AR KCL 804D, Nissan CBA-J31 KCB 733K and Isuzu FRR33 KBQ 637J.

The parcels of land are located in Ngong and Marmanet, North Rumuruti and Ndurumo in Laikipia.

The orders to freeze the properties came after the government through ARA revealed to the Anti-Corruption Court that they suspect the property were proceeds of crime and that Wangai should be barred from transferring or dealing with the property pending the hearing and determination of the case.

“We urge the court to issue preservation orders prohibiting Wangai, his employees, agents, servants or any other persons acting on his behalf from transacting, transferring or dealing in any manner howsoever in respect of the following land parcels,” stated the ARA.

The Agency had informed the court that the investigations into the matter started in June last year after it received information over a suspected case of defrauding members of the public, racketeering, obtaining money by false pretences and money laundering committed by the businessman Wangai and his firms.

High returns

Documents filed in court show that Wangai would receive funds from members of the public and later transfer them to bank accounts belonging to his business entities.

The entities are Goldenscape Tree Africa Limited, Goldenscape Greenhouse Limited, Silverstone Properties and Goldenscape Group Limited.

Preliminary investigations established that Wangai and the companies were involved in a suspected scheme of money laundering using funds from members of the public.

The Goldenscape Greenhouse Limited promised the investors high returns for investing in greenhouses.

Wangai is expected to face 360 new fraud charges contained in 18 separate files for allegedly conning Kenyans of millions of shillings in fake greenhouse investment deals.

Through his company, Wangai was accused of luring people to invest in greenhouses that were to be set up in among other areas, Ol Kalou and Nyahururu in Nyandarua county.

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