Counties

Siblings land row finally resolved after 42 years

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Court of Appeal Judge William Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Court of Appeal has ordered the subdivision of a Sh2.5 billion parcel of land among two brothers and their sister who have been battling over distribution for 42 years.
  • The land measuring 127 acres at Tigoni in Kiambu County is under coffee, tea, diary farming, vegitables and staple crops.
  • The appellate court comprising its president Justice William Ouko, Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu and and Mr Justice Asike Makhandia overturned a 2015 decision of Lady Justice Mary Gatumbi in which she had allocated one of the brothers 108 acres of the land.

The Court of Appeal has ordered the subdivision of Sh2.5 billion parcel of land among two brothers and their sister who have been battling over distribution for 42 years.

The land measuring 127 acres at Tigoni in Kiambu County is under coffee, tea, dairy farming, vegetables and staple crops.

The appellate court comprising its president Justice William Ouko, Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu and Mr Justice Asike Makhandia overturned a 2015 decision of Lady Justice Mary Gatumbi in which she had allocated one of the brothers 108 acres of the land.

The three-judge bench allowed an appeal by lawyer Titus Koceyo that the rich agricultural land be divided into two equal portions of 63.5 acres amongst Eliud Njau Kibutiri and James Nyoro Kibutiri.

Their sister Loise Wanja Kibutiri who had lodged an appeal through veteran lawyer Dr Gibson Kamau Kuria will get her share of the land from the 63.5 acres allocated to James.

The judges directed she gets 6.35 acres from James as she contributed through him Sh12,000 for the purchase of the land from a British settler Thelma Kathleen Gladys Baxendell in 1964.

From James’ share of 63.5 acres, Loise will be allocated 6.35 acres.

This leaves 57.15 acres for James whom the judges said “excluded Eliud from the property since 1967.”

“We think James has been extremely unfair to his brother Eliud,” justices Ouko, Okwengu and Makhandia ruled.

In the sub-division that was overturned by the three-judge bench, James had been allocated 108 acres of the 127 acres bought by the three.

“James has lived on the farm with his family since 1967 where he built a house at an estimated cost of Sh0.8m and has never paid rent to the partnership he registered with his brother vide an indenture,” they said.

The judge further stated James single-handedly runs the farm assisted by his wife and sons.

The judges who resolved the case, which is one of the oldest land disputes litigated in the Judiciary said it was, “protracted, ferocious and transcends family bloodlines.”

It was commenced in 1978 then handled by former judges, among them former Chief Justice Allan Hancox, Justice James Porter, the late Appeal Judge Justice James Nyaragi, and Justice Effie Owuor.