EACC wins land case against Moi company

Lima Ltd said to have obtained land marked as public

In Summary

• One of the respondents was commissioner of lands

• EACC said survey board meeting declared municipal houses to be brought down for allocation

A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi
A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi

A judge has cancelled titles of four parcels in Eldoret issued to a company associated with former President Daniel Moi and late minister Nicholas Biwott.

High Court judge Anthony Ombwayo ruled in favour of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission.

He held that the company, Lima Limited, un-procedurally obtained titles to the land that had been alienated as public land.

“This court finds that the allocation and issuance of leases to the 1st defendant of Eldoret municipality block 4/129, 4/52, 4/53, 4/54 and 4/55 is void and incapable of conferring any estate interest or right,” Justice Ombwayo ruled on April 11. 

He further cancelled charges registered against the parcels. 

The EACC had moved to court to challenge the allocation with a view to recovering the land.

It sued Lima Ltd, Wilson Gachanja and Transnational Bank Limited as respondents. Gachanja at the time was the commissioner of lands. 

The commission said the land was alienated for public utilities and was fully developed with a High Court station, district hospital, fire station and Administration Police camp. Therefore it could not be considered un-alienated, the court had been told.

The EACC argued that Gachanja had no authority in law to make the alienation and the company did not lawfully obtain the title.

The anti-graft agency cited a meeting of the board of survey for government offices and houses held in the DC’s office on September 7, 1995, and another held on January 11, 1996. It decided government and municipal houses on the land were identified to be brought down to pave way for allocation, the EACC told the court.

The company replied that the land was available for allocation and, therefore, obtained a good title from the government agency. 

It said it is the registered proprietor and therefore the absolute owner whose rights can only be defeated on evidence of fraud. 

Lima Ltd says the parcels were transferred by the commissioner of lands on diverse dates for various sums based on allotment letters.

It said it legally acquired the plots.

The four parcels of land were allocated to Lima Ltd between 1995 and 1998.

But the judge agreed with the EACC and further directed Gachanja to pay the costs of the lawsuit.

“The second defendant (Gachanja) who never came to court to give evidence, despite being served, is liable to pay costs of the suit as he knew or ought to have known that the property was not available for allocation,” the judge held.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)