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Companies

Win for firm in land tussle with NLC

Kilindini harbour
Men watch as a ship sails on Kilindini harbour. NLC alleged that the firm’s property was interfering with ship navigation. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

A decision by the National Land Commission (NLC) directing a company to move out of a parcel of land, which it alleged was interfering with ship navigational aids at Kilindini Port has been quashed.

Justice Charles Yano of the Environment and Land Court in Mombasa also prohibited NLC from evicting Kinnock Ltd and revoking its title deed to the parcel of land in Mombasa.

The court ruled that NLC’s decision to revoke the company’s title was made without jurisdiction or legal backing, hence is illegal.

“It is therefore my view that the rules of natural justice were flouted and the decision made without jurisdiction and all actions taken pursuant thereto were null and void,” ruled Justice Yano.

NLC had advertised and published a notice in a local daily January last year directing Kinnock Ltd to vacate from the land within 90 days failure to which it would be evicted.

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The court heard that the reason cited by NLC for ordering it to vacate the land was that it was illegally occupied in a manner that was interfering with safe navigation of the country’s waters by vessels, thereby threatening marine safety and operations.

NLC alleged that it had received complaints from the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), toured and inspected the property and confirmed it was one of the properties occupying and interfering with ship navigational aids at Kilindini Port.

Kinnock Ltd said it had never received any complaint from KMA or any other entity that its ownership and possession of the property had adverse effect on the safe navigation.

The court noted that the Land Act required the agency to publish its decision in the Kenya Gazette and make an announcement by radio.

“There was no evidence that such publication and announcement were done as required by Section 152 C of the Land Act,” said Justice Yano.

He further said that NLC failed to follow the law before arriving at the decision that the company was illegally occupying the land and its possession interfering with safe navigation.

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