By PAULINE KAIRU

In Kenya today, if you brought up the topic of buying land, everyone will warn you to beware of fraudsters. And it’s not without good reason. The media has reported numerous land and real estate scams, and ironically, co-founder and chief executive of Optiven, a real estate company, George Wachiuri was not spared either.

“We set up Optiven with my brother as young men ready to supply whatever our customers asked for. And then we became brokers in land sales,” said Wachiuri, and that is how the real estate arm of Optiven was founded in 2008.

Ambition and thirst for success saw the brothers put all their money into their newly formed real estate business and it wasn’t long before the scammers struck. They got caught up in a bogus land deal that cost them everything.

“That year the company was conned of Ksh5 million ($46,700), nearly 10-year savings, in a land deal gone bad as we tried to acquire land in Syokimau, near…

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