Court ejects grabbers from Sh52m government land

The EACC headquarters in Nairobi.

Integrity Centre, the EACC's headquarters in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has recovered an executive residential property worth Sh52 million located in Nyali, Mombasa County.

The property had been grabbed from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in the year 2000. The property, which had been the subject of a lawsuit, has a four-bedroomed bungalow and a servant quarters erected on it.

The EACC filed the civil case at the Environment and Land Court in 2009 seeking to recover and return the property to the government. In the case, the EACC had sued Luka Kimutai, his wife Sally Jepkpoech, and Toro Estates — who were both directors of the company.

Also sued was Sammy Silas Komen Mwaita who was then the Commissioner of Lands. Investigations established that the land in question had been set aside for the KCAA before it was irregularly and fraudulently allocated to Mr Kimutai by Mr Mwaita in 2000.

Justice Nelly Matheka ruled in favour of the EACC, saying that evidence submitted proved that the land was public before it was irregularly allocated to Mr Kimutai. She ruled that the allocation of the land to Mr Kimutai was illegal and ordered for the ownership of the land to be reverted to the government.

“I am convinced by the submissions of EACC that having been alienated as public land, the suit property was not available for conversion to private land and as such, the actions of the Commissioner of Lands in purporting to allocate the property to the defendants were illegal, null and void,” said the judge.

The judge has issued a declaration that the allocation of the property to Mr Kimutai and subsequent issuance of lease was irregular, fraudulent and illegal, and consequently null and void.

The judge also issued an order for rectification on the land register by cancellation of title and all entries made on the land register in favour of Mr Kimutai and the subsequent transfer to the company he owns with his wife.

Further, the court issued an order of preservation and a permanent injunction against Toro Estates transacting on the land except by transferring it back to the government.

Reacting to the judgement, the EACC said this was one of the many cases of grabbed public land that the commission is battling in court.

“This matter is one of the asset recovery cases worth more than Sh40 billion currently pending before various courts across the country where EACC is seeking orders to compel the illegal owners of public property to forfeit the same to the State,” said EACC’s head of corporate affairs and communication, Mr Eric Ngumbi.