Man, 93, sues to stop buyer from evicting him from 70-acre farm

justice
justice

A 93-year-old man has moved to court to stop the eviction of his family from their land in Baringo County.

Mr Samuel Kipruto Chepkeitany faces eviction after a court approved the auctioning of his 70-acre land in Lembus by a man who bought it from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

Following a February 9 judgment issued by Eldoret High Court Judge Hellen Omondi, the purchaser of the land, Stephen Kibowen, went to court seeking orders to evict Mr Kipruto and his family of 84 dependents.

This prompted Mr Kipruto and his children to ask the Court of Appeal in Nairobi for orders staying the execution of the judgment pending the hearing and determination of an appeal he has filed.

Through a certificate of urgency, Mr Kipruto told the court his family is at risk of being rendered homeless.

The court heard that the nonagenarian suffers from terminal illnesses that have so incapacitated him that he cannot put up a strong fight against the people who want to take his land.

“Unless this court intervenes by issuing injunctive orders and stay the proceedings, the appellants will be [on] the verge of losing their legally acquired property and will be rendered homeless,” the petition says.

In the near decade-long battle in court, Mr Kipruto accused AFC of illegally instructing Kolato Auctioneers to sell his land without his knowledge.

The court heard that he was the original owner of the land before he sold it in 1991 to his daughter Jeruto Tapkili Tengekyon.

Ms Tengekyon obtained a loan of Sh3.3 million and charged the land as security in 1996. But she had difficulties repaying the loan and in 2013 asked her father to repossess the land and pay the loan.

Mr Kipruto agreed to purchase the land and pay the loan that had ballooned to Sh5.5 million within 90 days.

He said he sold another piece of land in order to raise the money to pay the debt.

But the family was shocked to discover that AFC had auctioned the land to Mr Kibowen in 2014 without their knowledge allegedly because they had defaulted on payments.

Mr Kipruto insisted that the bank was receiving money from him to settle the debt.

He later learnt that the bank had tried to cancel the auction allegedly because proper procedures had not been followed.

But Mr Kibowen sued the bank, which was compelled to transfer ownership documents to him.

Upon receiving the documents, Mr Kibowen embarked on evicting Mr Kipruto and his family, prompting the latter and his daughter to file the case in court.

Mr Kipruto wanted the court to declare the auction illegal and order the cancellation of the title deed issued in the name of Mr Kibowen.

But Justice Omondi ruled the auction was conducted legally and Mr Kibowen was the rightful owner of the land.

Aggrieved by the decision, Mr Kipruto moved to the Court of Appeal, a case that is now pending.

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