Companies

Portland suffers blow in land grabbing suit

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East African Portland Cement’s factory in Athi River. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A court has dismissed a case filed by loss-making East African Portland Cement Company challenging recommendations of the Ndung'u Land Commission Report on the inquiry into the illegal and irregular allocation of public land.
  • In the report released 17 years ago, the Commission recommended revocation of titles allocated to the cement maker for 22 land parcels in Machakos and Kajiado counties.

A court has dismissed case filed by loss-making East African Portland Cement Company challenging recommendations of the Ndung'u Land Commission Report on inquiry into the illegal and irregular allocation of public land.

In the report released 17 years ago, the Commission recommended revocation of titles allocated to the cement maker for 22 land parcels in Machakos and Kajiado counties.

The company told court that being a public entity, it was legally allocated various parcels of land by the Government at various times to enable it fully realise its mandate of mining kunkur, which is a raw material for the manufacture of cement.

It indicated that such allocations was done procedurally and with the sole objective of enabling it carry out its principal business which was not illegal or irregular. It stated that at all material times it was the owner of Leasehold interests with respect to the 22 properties.

The Ndung'u Commission recommended that the firm's titles relating to the 22 parcels of land be either revoked or investigations touching on their propriety be undertaken.

The company moved to court in 2019 seeking a declaration that the recommendation “does not have any legal effect and is void to the extent of its invalidity”.

It also wanted a declaration that the decision to recommend revocation or investigations of the suit properties was unlawful, punitive, disproportionate, and of no legal basis under the circumstances with regard to the company's interest in the properties.

But Justice Oscar Angote, while sitting at the Environment and Lands Court in Machakos, dismissed the company's case for failing to challenge the Commission's recommendation within reasonable time.

"It is common knowledge that the Ndung’u Commission Report has been in the public domain since the year 2004. It is also common knowledge that some of the recommendations in the Ndung’u Commission Report have been acted upon by several state and non-state organs,” said Justice Angote.

“The Petitioner has not informed this court why, despite the Report having been released to the public in the year 2004, the same was never challenged within a reasonable time."