Somalia embassy sale voided

Hezron Njoroge | NATION
The building, which is to be reclaimed by the Embassy of Somalia after Tuesday’s landmark court order.

What you need to know:

  • Judge rules that property bought by Nairobi couple is protected by Vienna Convention

The Somali Government scored a major victory on Tuesday when it got back its embassy premises sold to a Nairobi investor 15 years ago.

In a landmark judgement, the High Court quashed the sale of the official house and the parcel of land on which it stands.

Mr Justice Mbogholi Msagha consequently reversed the sale and vested it back to the Somali embassy.

From court, the new Somali ambassador to Kenya, Mr Mohammed Ali Nur, lawyer Fred Athuok and embassy officials drove straight to the property in Nairobi’s Spring Valley area.

Standing on a two-and-a-half acre piece of land, the property was acquired by the Somali Government in 1972 and registered at the Lands Ministry in 1973.

When the government of then President Siad Barre collapsed in 1991, civil strife engulfed the country and all the diplomatic ties with foreign governments ceased.

In 1995 a former ambassador to Kenya, Mr Ahmed Sheikh Mohamud, sold the residence and plot at Sh15 million to Mr Suleiman Rahemtulla Omar and his wife.

Immediately after the sale witnessed by lawyer Stephen Kibunja, Mr Mohamud fled to the United Kingdom.

Mr Omar transferred the property located at the junction of Brookside Drive and Lower Kabete Road. It is estimated to be worth Sh500 million.

However, the sale was challenged by former embassy officials Musa Hersi Fahiye, who has since died, Mr Mohammed Omar and the Republic of Somalia.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Msagha declared in his judgement: “The sale was fraudulent. The former Ambassador should not have sold the property. I cancel the sale and revert the property to the Republic of Somalia.”

The judge declined to vilify the Kenya Government over the sale because Mr Omar, Mr Mohamud and lawyer Stephen Kibunja who acted for the Embassy ought to have known the property was protected under the Vienna Convention and could not be sold until normalcy returned in Somalia.