Two people charged with the Sh283 million cemetery fraud last month pleaded to the charges on Wednesday.

Twelve others, including interdicted Local Government permanent secretary Sammy Kirui and former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo, returned to the court for the mention of the case.

Businessman Newton Osiemo and suspended City Hall official Alexander Musee pleaded to the charges and were granted Sh2.5 million cash bail.

They were charged alongside the others on April 29 but failed to appear in court.

Mr Osiemo is also accused of fraudulently acquiring Sh38 million from the council between February 11 and April 16 while Mr Musee is accused of acquiring Sh8 million from the council on February 27, 2009.

Another suspect, Joseph Kojwando, who contested the charges in the High Court was ordered by anti-corruption magistrate to answer to the charges after his bid to stop the proceedings in the lower court flopped.

He denied the charges and was released on Sh2.5 million cash bail.

Kirui and Gakuo, Nairobi City Council director of legal affairs Mary Ngethe and former council official Musee face separate charges of abuse of office by authorising payment of Sh283,200,000 to Naen Rech Ltd for the irregular purchase of the cemetery land.

All have denied the charges and are out on Sh2.5 million cash bail

Ngethe and Musee, who chaired the tender evaluation committee as chairman and secretary respectively, are accused of giving a misleading report indicating that the committee had agreed to buy the controversial 120-acre plot in Mavoko town.

They allegedly received substantial financial benefits towards the procurement of the land whose price has been faulted by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission as being far above the prevailing market rate for land in similar locations.

Kirui, Gakuo, Ngethe and Musee face other charges of abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers of Sh283 million.

In the wake of the scandal, the President suspended 13 top officials and the Attorney General gave KACC the go-ahead to charge the suspects.

KACC had forwarded the AG a report recommending that the suspects be arraigned in court to answer various charges relating to the scandal.

City Hall allegedly bought the land worth Sh24 million for Sh259 million in a conspiracy that involved top civil servants, lawyers, traders and council officers.

The land — intended to replace the already full Lang’ata cemetery was found unsuitable for use as a burial site.

Sh100 million has since been used to buy another burial plot.