Sycamore Pine Limited, a land selling company directed by KEMSA Chairman Irungu Nyakera, is under investigation as victims of the halted Samara Housing Project demand refunds.
The project, recommended to buyers by Safaricom Investment Company (SIC), has unveiled a complex web of fraudulent dealings and fake promises on the refund of the money paid by investors.
In 2020, Safaricom Investment Company signed a deal with Sycamore Pine Limited, expecting a 4.5% commission for every unit sold.
However, the agreement collapsed when it was revealed that Sycamore lacked essential documentation for the Samara Estate Development project.
The project stalled in 2021 after Migaa Estate residents opposed high-rise apartments, leading to Safaricom Investment Company terminating the agreement.
The first alarm on TikTok was raised by Maryanne Njoki, exposing Safaricom’s misleading practices that prompted investors to join the project without proper due diligence on the company.
She highlighted that Safaricom had misled investors into committing to the project without conducting proper due diligence on the company. She had urged Kenyans to boycott the company and stop investing with them.
In response, Safaricom allegedly attempted to salvage its reputation by urging Maryanne Njoki to delete the viral TikTok video. It was only after such efforts that individual investors began receiving their refunds.
Significantly, only five (5) out of the seven (7) whistleblowers, Safaricom and Sycamore, chose to refund, leaving the remaining individuals to endure despite their frequent visits to the office.
Sarah Wahogo, the CEO of Safaricom Investment Company, recently testified before the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee, revealing that the approval of the developer’s documents took longer than anticipated.
Following the contract termination, the company held multiple meetings with eight victims to facilitate a refund of Sh10.152 million. By October 18, five victims had received a combined refund of Sh6.158 million, with the remaining three slated to receive Sh3.994 million.
However, individuals who made separate purchases face obstacles in securing refunds, leading to increased demands for transparency and accountability.
The disclosure by Wahogo suggests that buyers who transacted through Safaricom Investment Company have been refunded, safeguarding the company’s image.
Susan Wanjiku Kimani revealed to the media that she invested a significant amount of Sh 1.35 million in Sycamore Pine Limited.
However, her endeavors to obtain a refund have been met with frustration.
Kimani mentioned that, since 2020, after making the second installment payment and submitting her signed documents to the company’s offices, she has not received any signed documents from their end.
Additionally, the company has not provided her with a sale agreement or a receipt for the second payment, despite her numerous emails to their lawyer, Sylvia Kimani.
Kimani expressed her difficulty in acquiring the sale agreement, stating that she has been led in circles by office administrators. Even reaching out to KEMSA Chairman Irungu Nyakera, who also serves as the company director, has proven unproductive.
“In my purchase, I never received a signed sale agreement from Sycamore Pine Limited, so technically, it wasn’t a complete sale. All I need now is my refund,” she emphasized
Copies of letters sent to Sycamore Pine Limited and emails directed to Irungu Nyakera, Jmwenje, Fkigen, and Evans, as seen by this publication, illustrate Susan Kimani’s persistent attempts to recover her money without success.
Another victim, using the alias Nancy Mwangi, highlighted her direct deposit of funds into Sycamore Pine Limited’s account, linking the fraud to collusion between company directors, office administrators, and sales agents.
She called for Irungu Nyakera’s resignation, citing a violation of Chapter 6 of the Kenyan Constitution on integrity.
She said that they were duped to directly deposit at least 20 per cent of funds into the Sycamore Pine Limited account.
“Kemsa Chairman Irungu Nyakera is the director of the company that tricked us to fall into fake project and he seem not ready to refund our money despite numerous push and he seem to ignore those who bought separately from cooperative, all what we need is our money or he resigns from his position on the ground of chapter 6 of the Kenyan constitution that talks of the integrity,” she said.
Nancy emphasized that the government should suspend and deregister the company to shield Kenyans from financial losses adding that affected buyers are urging the government to take swift action against fraudulent companies to safeguard citizens from exploitation.
The affected buyers are urging the government to suspend and deregister the company to protect Kenyans from financial losses.
Another buyer with Sycamore Pine Limited who sought anonymity for fear of being frustrated on getting his money back said that the government should registrate mushroom land selling companies that have embraced the culture of conning Kenyans.
He said that his relationship with Sycamore Pine Limited is frustrating noting that he has visited the company offices without help noting that they are not functional and the staffs seem to ignore anyone demanding a refund.
They have resolved to hold a mega demonstration, and numerous lobby society members and influential individuals have pledged to join if Nyakera fails to settle the refunds.
He said that during demonstration they will mount more pressure by collecting signatures for Irungu Nyakera’s resignation as the Chairman of KEMSA.
“We have resolved to hold a mega demonstration and hundreds of lobby society members and influential individuals have agreed to join us if Nyakera will not have paid us our money, we will push for his resignation as the Chairman of the Kemsa,” he said.
The affected buyers are also calling on the government to enact stringent policies to protect citizens from exploitation by land firms.
The Ministry of Lands recently reported 7,052 cases of property fraud, exacerbated by collusion with professionals.
The Real Estate Stakeholders Association, comprising over 100 firms, was recently formed to combat fraudulent practices and advocate for the prosecution of companies involved in sham land deals.
Chair of the Association of Real Estate Developers, Kinyua Wairatu, urged the government to investigate real estate fraud cases, especially those involving criminals posing as property owners, targeting innocent Kenyans, particularly those residing abroad.
“Some of the companies have closed down and rebranded to new entities unknown to their investors after conning them millions of money,” Wairatu had said.
Eunice Macharia, Chairperson of the Real Estate Agents Registration Board, also recently revealed that companies previously involved in dubious land deals are rebranding to re-enter the market.
She has sought police assistance to investigate the escalating cases of fraudulent land deals, urging the DCI to commence investigations into recent fraudulent activities by land-buying companies.
“We urge the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to commence investigations on cases of fraudulent land-buying companies that have happened in the recent past,” she added.