How Thika locals protest over ‘rogue’ land companies

They say they were swindled of millions of shillings in fake land deals

Residents of Thika have called on the government to rein in land-buying firms that they allege swindled them of millions of shillings in fake deals.

They said the companies’ proprietors have pushed thousands of residents into poverty and mental anguish after defrauding them.

The locals said rogue firms have been selling ‘air’ to them and eventually vanishing when the investors demand their title deeds.

Locals claimed one such firm has swindled them of close to Sh800 million in fake land deals over the last two years.

The irate investors took to the streets to protest against the company’s reluctance to issue them with title deeds aor reimburse their money.

James Njoroge said he invested Sh350,000 for a 40 by 80-acre parcel at the company’s project in Juja.

He told journalists his efforts to reach out to the management of the company have allegedly been futile, accusing the company’s directors of defrauding him of his hard-earned money.

“They have been taking me round whenever I visit them to collect my title deed,” Njoroge said.

“They usually tell me the title deeds are being processed. I am worried because early this year, they closed their offices in Thika. My hard-earned money is gone.”

Sarah Waithera is another infuriated investor who allegedly paid some Sh400,000 to the company but has never set foot on the land parcel she was promised.

She said she’s fed up with what she called the company’s “cat-and-mouse games” and wants her money back.

“We have been renting houses for years and we thought that after purchasing the land, we would settle and get relieved of the burden of paying rent,” she said.

“Little did we know we were digging a hole for ourselves.”

The investors claimed the firm reneged on its promise to reimburse their money or issue them with title deeds.

“We are privy to information that the company’s director has registered other companies. We want the government to thoroughly investigate this matter,” Waithera said.

The Association of Real Estate Stakeholders, a body formed to restore sanity in the sector, has called on the government to investigate and bring to book directors of land companies who have swindled Kenyans.

Chairman Kinyua Wa Iratu said such actions have tainted the real estate sector and dealt a huge blow to legitimate land dealers in the region.

“Some former workers of that company pulled out of the firm after it went rogue and opened up their own companies but are currently facing an uphill task in their business for being dragged in the company’s sham deals,” Kinya said.

“The government should move with speed and take the necessary actions against the firm and ensure that all buyers who have been defrauded are compensated.”

Some of the locals who invested their money in buying plots during the protests in Thika town.

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