Real Estate Agent Fled To Philippines Allegedly For Chickenpox Treatment After Receiving Sh16 million

Real Estate Agent Fled To Philippines Allegedly For Chickenpox Treatment After Receiving Sh16 million

A Nairobi magistrate's court has heard that a real estate agent fled to Philippines after receiving over Sh16 million from a New York-based private auditor for the purchase of a parcel of land in upmarket Karen Estate.

Pleading for justice at Milimani Law Courts on Thursday, Mr Joseph Gitau urged Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku to legally avenge for him since "it is well over three years since he paid for the land and nothing has been forthcoming".

Mr Gitau was testifying against Mr Stephen Njoroge Mbugua who has denied defrauding him Sh16 million while pretending he would sell him half an acre of land in the leafy Karen Estate near Hillcrest.

He said he wired the money to the accused's' dollar account held at Equity Bank's Karen branch on October 1, 2017.

"Soon after I transferred the money through New York bankers, I called Mr Mbugua for him to confirm whether he had received the same in his dollar account at the Equity Bank, Karen branch," Mr Gitau said.

He told the court Mr Mbugua confirmed receiving the money after three days as he had switched off his phone. He then flew to Philippines for specialised treatment after allegedly contracting chickenpox.

Communication

Mr Gitau said he kept communicating via email and WhatsApp with the accused about transferring the money to his Kenyan Bank as earlier agreed before concluding the sale agreement.

He testified that to date, he has never got his money back despite concerted efforts which culminated in him seeking police intervention.

He also has not been allocated the said land.

The magistrate heard that in mid-2017, Mr Gitau travelled from New York to Nairobi to be shown by the accused the upmarket property he had bought.

"How did you learn there was land being sold in Karen Nairobi while in New York," State Prosecutor Anderson Gikunda asked Mr Gitau.

"Mr Mbugua had placed an advertisement on his Realcom.co.ke website since he was in real estate business," he answered.

In the advert read out to the magistrate, Mr Mbugua had alleged that there were half acre plots lined up for sale in Karen, Nairobi.

The complainant said that after seeing the advert on the accused's website, he called him as they had worked together for four years before flying out for greener pastures with the accused going into real estate ventures. They had kept communicating, Mr Gitau said.

The witness produced a sale agreement between him and the accused for the said Karen property. He also tabled correspondences between them.

In his bid to recover either his money or get the said land and to avoid litigation, Mr Gitau told Ms Mutuku that he invoked alternative dispute resolution but in vain.

"I even told the accused's sister to ask him to pay me in vain," Mr Gitau told Ms Mutuku.

Mr Mbugua, whose advocate quit before the trial begun, did not cross-examine Mr Gitau.

The two had worked for four years as auditors in a city firm before 2005.

The case was adjourned to December 7, 2020.