Companies

Safaricom wins Kwale booster trespass dispute

mast

A Safaricom transmission mast at Kiratina in Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Safaricom got a reprieve after a court dismissed a case in which a company sought to have the telco pay it Sh54.3 million for allegedly trespassing on its land in Kwale County and erecting a mast.
  • In its counterclaim, Emfil Ltd sought declarations that Safaricom trespassed on its land and that it was entitled to general and exemplary damages.
  • Justice Sila Munyao said the two titles are claimed by Emfil and Jua Maisha Ltd that had leased the land to Safaricom.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM got a reprieve after a court dismissed a case in which a company sought to have the telco pay it Sh54.3 million for allegedly trespassing on its land in Kwale County and erecting a mast.

The Environment and Land Court ruled that Safaricom could not be held guilty of trespass as there were two titles on the land for which a decision on who is the owner has not been made.

In its counterclaim, Emfil Ltd sought declarations that Safaricom trespassed on its land and that it was entitled to general and exemplary damages for trespass and the Sh54.3 million as profits the telco received from the land.

Justice Sila Munyao said the two titles are claimed by Emfil and Jua Maisha Ltd that had leased the land to Safaricom.

He ruled the issue on which of the two titles was genuine will only be settled in another pending case that may go either way.

“It cannot, therefore, be affirmed with finality, at this particular time, that it is the defendant (Emfil Ltd) who has rights over the disputed land and without that, this court cannot find that the plaintiff (Safaricom) was guilty of trespass at the time,” said Justice Munyao.

Justice Munyao said he cannot fault Safaricom for entering into the lease agreement with Jua Maisha Ltd as it (Jua Maisha Ltd) held a title which “if you went to the land registry” would give an impression that it is good.

“I am of the opinion that Safaricom genuinely believed that it was entering into a lease agreement with the rightful owner of the disputed land”.

Initially, Safaricom sued Emfil Ltd, seeking to have it restrained from the land where it had put a telecommunication mast to boost its network in Chale Island and the larger part of Kinondo beach.

Subsequently, Emfil filed an application to have Safaricom’s case dismissed for want of prosecution and for an order to have it remove its mast from the land.

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