Karume firm wins land dispute

Njenga Karume
Njenga Karume

A company associated with the late minister Njenga Karume, which has been in court for 25 years over a 512-acre land, has won the case.

Court of Appeal judges William Ouko, Asike Makhandia and Gatembu Kairu dismissed an appeal filed by Gitamaiyu Trading Company claiming that Mugumo Nyakinyua Company Ltd acquired the land irregularly and fraudulently.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that had ruled the land belonged to Mugumo Nyakinyua Company Ltd.

Gitamaiyu Company had claimed they bought the land on February 18, 1977. The firm said it entered into an agreement with Gopal Dass Pall, an agent of Fanros Limited, to buy the property at Sh4.2 million.

They claimed they paid the money and that its shareholders, who were workers and labourers on the estate, occupied the land but in 1979 they were forcefully evicted.

Mugumo and the estate of Njenga Karume, who were among those sued, denied the allegations and insisted that Mugomo has owned and occupied the property since 1977.

Gitamaiyu argued at the Court of Appeal that High Court judge Aggrey Muchelule erred in finding that they did not have an enforceable right over the suit property. They said he misdirected himself in failing to appreciate that the sale agreement was executed by them and Fanros Limited.

However, appellate judges said there is no evidence on record showing that Gitamaiyu paid the entire purchase price of Sh4.2 million in accordance with the terms of the sale agreement.

“As we have elsewhere said, there were two competing parties, the appellant and the 1st respondent, over the suit property. The latter reached the finishing line ahead of the former. And that is business,” the court held.

According to the court, Fanros Limited had the freedom to sell to either party so long as it did so fairly.

“The respondents cannot be blamed for their persistence and agility in pursuing the sale of the suit property to it or even for being backed by a powerful politician,” the court ruled.

The judges also noted there was evidence they applied and obtained a loan of Sh3 million from Agricultural Finance Corporation for the purchase of the suit property.

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