- After a friend was accused of criminal charges in 2013, a farmer's family offered the title deed of their one-acre land as surety so he could be released on bond.
- The suspect vanished with his family and has not appeared in court since May 2014 and the farmer risks having his land auctioned.
A farmer risks losing his one-acre land worth Sh2 million to Judiciary after a family friend whom he bailed out using the land’s title deed failed to appear in court for trial on 10 criminal charges.
Joseph Gikonyo Wanyiri, 54, attached his title deed in 2013 to bail out John Kariuki Waigwa, who faced charges of forging documents and fraudulently obtaining land registration.
Mr Waigwa, 50, last appeared in court on May 16, 2014 before resident magistrate Catherine Mburu when he was taking plea to the charges.
He later vanished with his wife and one child.
Nyeri senior resident magistrate Phillip Mutua on Tuesday warned Mr Wanyiri that his land would be auctioned if the suspect fails to appear in court by February 12, 2018.
“You stood surety for the suspect. You risk becoming a squatter if you do not produce him. We will sell your land,” Magistrate Mutua told Mr Wanyiri, who lives on the land with his family in Mweiga Kamatongu, Kieni.
Mr Wanyiri, pleaded with the court not to auction his land. He said his wife Jane Wangechi Kambu committed the title deed as surety because the suspect, Mr Waigwa, was friend of the family.
He added that his wife has been sick since then and could not appear in court to give the explanation.
The magistrate directed him to produce hospital documents to prove that his wife was sick and could not walk to the courtroom to explain the suspect’s whereabouts.
Mr Wanyiri, in a separate interview with the Nation, said that in 2015 resident magistrate Mburu had issued similar directives and he struggled to take his sick wife to the courtroom.