Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is the legitimate owner of a disputed land situated near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) worth Sh1.5 billion, three officials of the Ministry of Lands have told the court.
The three led by the Chief Land Registrar said Mr Gachagua is the rightful owner of the property measuring five acres and not Micheal Ohas, a retired civil servant, who is also laying claim of ownership.
The witnesses, Nyandoro David Nyambaso (senior assistant chief land registrar), Wilfred Muchae (principal land surveyor attached to the Office of the Director Surveys, Ruaraka) and Gorden Odeka Ochieng (director of land administration) stated that records at the ministry indicate that Mr Gachagua is the legal owner.
In their separate court filings, the ministry officials said the title deed held by Mr Gachagua’s company, Wamunyoro Investments Ltd, is genuine and forms part of the Land Registry’s records. The title was issued in 2012.
They said the other title issued to Mr Ohas’ company, Columbus Two Thousand Ltd, in 2019 is irregular and ought to be cancelled.
“The title held by Columbus Two Thousand Ltd was irregularly issued as the title for Wamunyoro Investment was already in existence and the same had not been legally revoked and/or cancelled. Under these circumstances, the title held by Columbus Two Thousand Ltd ought to be cancelled unless the court declares otherwise,” said Mr Nyambaso.
Mr Gachagua moved to court in July this year seeking revocation of the title held by Mr Ohas on grounds that it was fraudulently obtained.
He stated that Mr Ohas, a former director of physical planning in the Ministry of Lands, illegally obtained a title deed in September 2019 and registered it in the name of a company known as Columbus Two Thousand Ltd.
In their separate witness statements filed in court yesterday, the Lands ministry officials dismissed Mr Ohas’ company, Columbus Two Thousand Ltd, claim of ownership for the property.
They said the land was initially registered in the names of Peter Nduati Mbugua, Pauline Mulinge and Karandi Farm Limited in December 2002.
Through State counsel Allan Kamau, the chief registrar stated that the land was transferred to Mr Gachagua’s company on June 18, 2012, after buying it for Sh24 million.
On June 27, 2013, the property was used as security for a Sh150 million loan and a further loan of Sh50 million advanced by Equity Bank.
Records held in the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning indicate that Columbus Two Thousand was allocated the land, as an unsurveyed industrial plot, by the then commissioner of lands in February 1994 for a term of 99 years.
Part of the conditions contained in the letter of allotment was the payment of the fees within 30 days.
“From the time when the letter of allotment was issued on February 3, 1994, the allottee did not accept the offer neither did they make formal payment of the amounts stipulated in the letter until May 7, 1996, when they wrote to the Commissioner of Lands and accepted the offer,” says the Registrar.
He adds that the company made a partial payment of Sh50,000 on May 16, 1996.
However, at the time of making the partial payment the offer of allotment to Columbus Two Thousand Limited had lapsed and the land had reverted to the government.
The land was allocated to Mr Mbugua, Ms Mulinge and Karandi Farm Limited for a term of 99 years at an annual rent of Sh110,800 with effect from May 1, 1999. A title was issued to them on December 31, 2002.
On June 18, 2012, they transferred the property to Wamunyoro Investments.
Mr Nyambaso, in his affidavit, states that though Mr Gachagua’s company had the title another lease title was created on September 11, 2019, and issued to Columbus Two Thousand Ltd.
The lease was for a term of 99 years with effect from February 1, 1994, at an annual rent of Sh138,400.