Companies

Safaricom gets access to its Makuyu base station after winning land fight

SCOM

A Safaricom shop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The High Court has directed a Murang’a widow to allow Safaricom to access its booster station in the Makuyu area after she failed to prove that the land where the base transmitter stands, belonged to her.

Justice Lucy Gacheru ruled that Sabina Githina failed to prove that the agreement between the giant telco and Josenga Company Ltd, which owns the land was fraudulent.

The woman has accused Safaricom of trespassing into her land and her attempts to settle the matter with the telco amicably bore no fruit.

“The upshot of the foregoing is that the 2nd Defendant (Ms Githina) has failed on a balance of probability to establish to the required standard any fraud perpetuated by the Plaintiff (Safaricom),” the judge said.

Safaricom moved to court seeking to stop Ms Githina from interfering with its workers by denying them access to the base transmitter station in Makuyu. The transmitter was erected in 2003 to boost cellphone network in Murang’a and its environs.

The court heard that Safaricom had initially leased the land from Punda Milia Co-operative Society in January 2003. The land then measured about 100 acres.

The lease was renewable for a second six-year term with a yearly rent of Sh75,000 and a five percent increment at the beginning of each 12 months. The company said it performed its obligations under the lease including prompt payment of the yearly rent.

At some point, one of the landlords subdivided his parcel in 2004 where the transmitter was built and the parties had to renew the lease. Safaricom was to be retained under the new title.

In May 2013, the society sold the land to Josenga Company Ltd for Sh350,000 and the firm acknowledged in the presence of Safaricom that it was ready for a new lease, which was executed in October 2013 for a period of 15 years.

Ms Githina, however, said her late husband purchased three acres of the land in 2004 from the co-op society and the transmitter was not part of the deal.

It was her argument that the new title by Josenga Company Ltd was fraudulently created because the portion where the booster stood was in the middle of her property. She said the lease was also illegal because she did not consent to it.

Ms Githina said Safaricom should pay her profits from 2004 and the title deed should be cancelled. She said she attempted to engage Safaricom Company in 2015 after she realised that the said lease had come to an end, without success.

She then blocked the company and accused it of trespass.

The court ruled that Josenga purchased the land and that Ms Githina failed to prove claims of fraud.

[email protected],nationmedia.com