British tea firm accuses farmers of forgery in land row


Squatters who invaded a tea estate belonging to the Eastern Produce tea company of Kenya (EPK) and started harvesting tea claiming the land belonged to the Kimasas Farmers Cooperative Society. PHOTO | TOM MATOKE | NMG

A tea estate associated with British multinational Camellia Plc has moved back to court in Kapsabet seeking a review of a decision dismissing its case in April in a fight with a farmers’ society in Nandi county over 550 acres of its estate.

Eastern Produce Kenya (EPK) Ltd says in the petition filed before the Environment and Land court that it commissioned a document examiner to look at the letter dated November 8, 1986, and discovered that a letter used by the society to claim part of the tea estate was doctored.

The letter formed the basis for the claim by Kimasas Farmers’ Co-operative Society to demand 550 acres of the tea estate, which was granted by the National Land Commission (NLC) in a gazette notice on March 1, 2019.

Attempts by EPK to challenge the NLC’s recommendations were dismissed by the same court in April, forcing the tea company to move to the Court of Appeal after locals invaded the estate.

“Whereas the above-named plaintiff instituted a suit against you upon the claim, the particulars of which are set out in the copy of the plaint. You are hereby required to with 21 days, from the date of service hereof to enter an appearance in the said suit,” the summons issued by the court to the farmers’ society reads.

The firm says it reviewed its file on the transaction and among the documents is a letter dated November 8, 1986 it allegedly wrote to the commissioner of lands. The firm allegedly noted that the said letter had been altered in reference to 550 acres.

“Subsequently, the plaintiff commissioned an expert document examiner to assess the said letter and in a report dated August 21, 2023, found that the letter was a manipulation of its letter dated June 20, 1986,” the petition reads.

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