Justice Boaz Olao calls out fraudster who sold land and later sued to recover it

Boaz Olao

High Court Judge Boaz Olao at the Kisumu Court on March 21, 2019.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Omoding had sued Melenia Orupia and Florencio Opollo demanding back land he claimed they fraudulently acquired.
  • However, it emerged that Omoding had sold the land measuring three acres to Orupia’s husband at Sh33,000 on July 17, 1995.

Known for his linguistic flair, High Court judge Boaz Olao has caused a stir online  after declaring a litigant who sued two people he had sold land to, seeking to recover the same piece, as “a perfect example of greedy fraudsters seeking justice” in courts.

“If the list of shame containing the names of fraudsters who, propelled by unbridled greed, have walked through the gates of Busia Court purporting to seek justice is finally prepared, it will certainly contain the name of Jifnal Omailo Omoding,” Justice Olao stated.

“I would advise him to ensure that his children and grandchildren do not access this judgment.”

Justice Olao made the sentiments in the opening of a judgment he delivered at the Busia High Court’s Environment and Land Court on November 23.

Omoding had sued Melenia Orupia and Florencio Okituk Opollo demanding back land he claimed they fraudulently acquired.

He was seeking an order declaring that the registration of the two as the owners of the disputed land fraudulent, illegal, unlawful and therefore null and void.

Omoding sought multiple orders against Orupia and Opollo including an order for eviction of the two, their families, agents and servants from the land.

He had also asked the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining the two from interfering with the land parcel number South Teso/Apokor/590.

The litigant had also sought compensation for “loss incurred” for not using the land during the more than 20 years it was occupied by the defendants (Orupia and Opollo).

He had claimed to be the administrator of the land after its original owner died and termed the actions of Orupia and Opollo of registering themselves as proprietors of the land parcel fraudulent.

Omoding accused the two of dealing with a deceased’s land, making false documents to procure a transfer of land from the deceased’s name among others.

However, it emerged that Omoding had sold the land measuring three acres to Orupia’s husband at Sh33,000 on July 17, 1995.

Omoding had an eye injury that needed money for emergency treatment and opted to sell the land. He was handed Sh15,000 on the same day and the remaining amount was paid later.

Opollo bought the remaining part of the land measuring two acres at Sh37,000 in the presence of a village elder and other witnesses. Omoding took both women to the Land Control Board offices on July 7, 1998, where they obtained consent to transfer the land to themselves.

The two later partitioned the land and lived thereon until 2019 when Omoding went sued them claiming the same land.

Justice Olao noted that there was evidence of an independent witness – James Elungata who testified to witnessing the agreement between Omoding and the two women in 1997.

The judge also noted that Omoding did not deny receiving the Sh33,000 and the Sh37,000 from Orupia and Opollo respectively.

The area Assistant Commissioner Lentente Saiteyu also produced minutes of a September 3, 1998 meeting at Amukura Land Control Board, which indicated that Omoding had sought consent to transfer the land to the two women he later sued.

Justice Olao said he noted that Omoding did not challenge the authenticity of the documents tabled by Saiteyu or cite ill motive.

The judge highlighted the findings of a magistrate who had heard the case a few years earlier on Omoding’s land transactions with the two he later sued.

The magistrate had stated that Omoding failed to reveal the material fact that the land had been subdivided with his full knowledge.

“Clearly, the plaintiff’s (Omodings’) dalliance with dishonesty appears not to have started with this case. He cannot now complain about fraudulent conduct which he himself not only facilitated but also benefited financially therefrom. The doctrine of equitable estoppel will certainly come to the aid of the defendants (Orupia and Opollo) rather than the plaintiff (Omoding)'', Justice Olao ruled.

The judge dismissed Omoding’s suit and ordered him to pay the two defendants the costs of the case.

Justice Olao in March 2021, then based at the High Court in Eldoret, made similar sentiments where he warned widows in Eldoret to be wary of a man that was preying on lonely women before taking over their wealth.

“What the widows need most at their time of distress is a helper who can shower them with love and offer support not deceitful and thieving men whose main goal is to strike at vulnerable widows,” he stated.