Briton fails to stop Twiga Chemicals eviction suit


The Court of Appeal has suspended a decision to punish NEA director-general Edith Okoki. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

The High Court has declined to strike out a suit by Twiga Chemicals Industries seeking the eviction of some British aristocrats from an expansive ranch in Machakos County.

Justice Christine Ochieng rejected the application by David Hopcraft to strike out the suit, saying late service of the petition was a procedural technicality.

Dr Hopcraft wanted the case struck out arguing that despite being allowed to make changes by the court in April last year, Twiga Chemicals served the case upon them 78 days later, which was an inordinate delay.

Twiga Chemicals through its managing director Anantharaman Ramamurthy opposed the application saying it was made in bad faith and intended to cause an obstruction to a fair trial, of the pending suit.

“The 1st Defendant (Dr Hopcraft) has not demonstrated what prejudice it suffered since the Amended Plaint was served upon its’ advocates late. Besides, it has not denied that the Plaintiff apologised for the late service,” the judge said.

In the matter, Twiga Chemicals is seeking to evict Game Ranching Ltd from the land in Mavoko, arguing that an agreement between the two companies barred parties from subletting the land, without seeking consent.

The land was leased to the late Baroness Christian Mary Hesketh in 1962 for a term of 999 years, but Mr Ramamurthy said Baroness Hesketh transferred the land to John Norman Hopcraft in April 1964, without obtaining consent from him.

And despite having had no legal interest in the property, Mr Hopcraft allegedly transferred the property to Game Ranching in March 1997.

Mr Ramamurthy said they carried out an investigation to establish the administrator of the estate of John Norman Hopcraft and those of Baroness Hesketh, as defendants in the case.

Twiga Chemicals then sought from the court and were allowed to include Baroness Hesketh and Dr Hopcraft in the case.

However, the company delayed in filing the amended petition forcing Dr Hopcraft to move back to court and urge the court to strike out the case.

Game Ranching has opposed the main case arguing that the transfers occurred a decade ago and the claim expired in 1989.

The company further said it has been in adverse and uninterrupted possession of the land for over 12 years.

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