Oil marketer Vivo Energy Ltd has received a court’s nod to commence legal proceedings seeking to compel the National Land Commission (NLC) pay a sum of Sh724,000 being legal costs of an old land case.
Justice Pauline Nyamweya allowed the firm to commence the judicial review proceedings against the NLC following a finding that it had been awarded the costs of the suit in a judgment delivered on February 18, 2015.
In convincing the judge that it is entitled to the sum of Sh724,781, the firm’s company secretary Naomi Assumani tabled certificate of taxation of the legal costs issued by the court on April 12, 2018. She also produced a Certificate of Order against the government for the said amount issued on July 17, 2019.
The firm was awarded the costs after winning in a case where it had sued NLC for revoking its title for a parcel of land in Riruta, Dagorreti Nairobi.
In the judgement dated February 18, 2015 justice George Odunga overturned NLC’s decision to cancel the company’s title for a plot occupied by Riruta Shell Station. The commission in the attempted revocation had reverted the land to Riruta Satellite Community. The decision was published in a Kenya Gazette special Issue on July 18, 2014.
When restoring the title to the energy dealer, justice Odunga said NLC made a recommendation for revocation without affording the company a right of hearing. He noted that the company was denied an opportunity to defend its proprietorship to the disputed land.
“Under both the constitutional and the relevant statutory provisions a registered proprietor’s title to land cannot be revoked without the proprietor being afforded an opportunity of being heard,” ruled Justice Odunga.
He added that the decision of NLC was tainted with illegality and procedural impropriety. The judge also directed the commission to bear the costs of the energy company in the suit.
While defending its ownership of the disputed plot — Riruta Shell Station — Vivo energy said it purchased it from Stanley Manyara, Baptista Mugambi, Christian Jack Mutuma and Stephen Mutathia in 1998. The transaction was through a sale agreement dated December 14, 1998, for Sh4 million.
The transfer was duly registered by the Ministry of Land on September 22, 2000, and a new Certificate of Lease issued. Since the year 2000, the company has been in occupation of the station.