MEGA SCAM: Ruto’s Easton Flats fraudulently sold to Kenya Police Service for Sh3.5 billion.
In what is unraveling to be a major scam, Deputy President William Ruto has reportedly clandestinely and irregularly disposed of his controversial property – Easton Apartments situated along Jogoo Road – to the Kenya Police Service for a whooping Sh 3.5 billion.
The property which is registered under Somog Ltd, was controversially alloted to William Ruto in the 1990s by former President Daniel Wrap Moi. The prime plot previously belonged to Kenya Pipeline Company.
Interestingly, in Somog Ltd, one Linus Cheruiyot who is a former Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director is listed as one of its Directors.
The background to the acquisition of Easton Apartments can be directly traced back to 1995, when an ambitious 28 year old William Ruto, would easily walk into State House, often departing with presidential allocation letters to several prime plots of land worth multiple billions of shillings. This was the payback period for William Ruto’s colourful stint as Executive Officer of YK92 during former President Moi’s 1992 re-election campaign.
The youthful and eloquent Ruto was now being elevated up within President Moi’s political and patronage ladder. He had already been appointed into the defunct board of Kenya Times Media Trust (KTMT) as a Director. Ruto was precisely grooming himself into a parliamentary candidate for the Eldoret North seat in 1997, promising to co-mobilize youthful Nandi support for Moi’s last re-election campaign in that year.
But there was one problem in those days. Ruto needed a lot of cash to challenge Moi’s own wealthy Tugen cousin,the late Reuben Chesire for the seat. It is probably the mad rush by Ruto to quickly mobilize campaign capital between 1995 and 1997 that won him what was clearly a public utility plot him.
The untamed appetite to speculate on grabbed public land, investing in real estate development and disposing the same to the same government for hefty cash precisely tells the story of Ruto and his Easton Apartments estate.
The almost universal (but not sophisticated) method of hiding land transactions from public eye is to have initial land allocations made to companies, rather than individuals directly using their names. Ruto did the same thing. Many of these companies would appear to have been purposefully formed with the intention to later defraud state firms and unsuspecting buyers through fictitious sale transfers.
Ruto registered land allocated to him under many company names. A public search at the Registrar’s office would later reveal that some of these companies listed Ruto himself as director, while others had proxies listed on his behalf – family (like Hellen Samoei) or close aides and friends like Silas Simatwo or Paul Chirchir.
Some of Ruto’s land-deal companies include; Somog Ltd, Oseng properties, Rose Star Properties, Celtic Multisystems Ltd, Orterter Properties, Berke Commercial Agencies, Matiny Ltd, among others. These companies can be found in several pages, both in the Ndung’u Land Report and the TJRC report.
Back in the day, preparing for the general elections between 1995 and 1997, William Ruto secured a lot of land allotment letters (some under the company names listed above), quickly paid rates and fees then registered the land.
For the controversial plot at Jogoo Road, DP Ruto registered the land under Somog Limited.
DP Ruto, aptly nicknamed Arap Mashamba, would then use two methods to mobilize liquidity (a) using these plots as collateral to get loans from either government owned banks or political allied banks – many which later collapsed (b) coercing government parastatals (state corporations) to ‘buy’ these plots at exorbitant prices.
It would appear the Kenya Police Service was compelled to purchase Easton Apartments without following due process for public procurement.
Independent valuers have been estimated that the Easton Apartments and the plot it sits on, sold as is in the open market, cannot get more that Sh200 million.
Apart from conflict of interest raised in the transaction, the deal brings to the fore serious ethical and integrity questions and begs the question if the public is getting value for money.
By virtue of his position as Deputy President, Ruto is required to ensure compliance with legal and other obligations.
Instead of observing transparency and seeking adherence to rule of law, the DO is guilty of steering Kenya Police Service to buy property from a Somog Limited, a company he co-owned with others and in which he is majority shareholder