Kenya kicks out Dane at centre of Narok land dispute

Wananchi queue outside the Immigration Department offices at Nyayo House in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Wananchi queue outside the Immigration Department offices at Nyayo House in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Immigration Services director Gordon Kihalangwa wants Peter Bonde Nielsen, a Dane at the centre of a vicious battle over the 67,000-acre Ol Donyo Laro Estate,  out of Kenya, arguing that his stay in the country is “contrary to national interests”.

In a letter to Mr Nielsen dated July 18, Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa informed the Dane that his application for an investor’s permit had been rejected.

Mr Nielsen has responded to the rejection letter with a petition at the High Court, arguing that the Immigration Services director was hoodwinked by his former business partners to cause his expulsion from the country as part of a scheme to lock him out of various real estate investments worth billions of shillings.

“Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa’s actions of failing to renew my investor’s permit on the basis that my presence is contrary to national interests has been instigated and orchestrated by my former business partners, who have peddled fabrications and desire to have me deported so that they can obtain an unfair advantage on the various court cases within the Republic of Kenya,” Mr Nielsen claims.

Maj-Gen (Rtd) Kihalangwa’s rejection letter has now been filed in court as evidence.

Mr Nielsen and his father, Jan Bonde Nielsen, have since 2009 been engaged in several court battles with his estranged business partners, Hermannus Phillipus Steyn and Hedda Steyn, over the ranch, which cuts across Narok and Kajiado counties.

The land also hosts the luxurious Ol Donyo Laro private lodge.

Mr Nielsen has also been engaged in fights over the land with a group of local ranchers under the Nguruman Limited umbrella, who reckon that the Ol Donyo Laro Estate is their land that was forcefully taken by the Dane.

Neither Immigration Services, acting Interior secretary Fred Matiang’i nor Attorney-General Githu Muigai, who are named as respondents in the suit, have responded.

Mr Nielsen, who has since May been in Kenya on a special three-month pass, argues that the assertion that his presence in Kenya is contrary to national interests is baseless, as the National Police Service had recently issued him with a certificate of good conduct.

The Dane has accused Immigration Services and the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government of carrying out investigations on him without offering him a chance to respond to the findings.

Mr Nielsen, who has lived and worked in Kenya since 2004, was among the thousands of businessmen and politicians who were last year named in the controversial Panama Papers, a collection of 11.5 million leaked documents that detailed offshore company ownerships.

The documents, made public by German journalist Bastian Obermeyer, showed that Mr Nielsen ran Avon Developments Limited, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

He was a director and shareholder of the company, alongside a Mr Mahendra Bakhda, a Briton.

The physical address of Avon Development was registered as Titan Hangar at Wilson Airport in Nairobi.

The documents show that Mr Nielsen may have used the permissive system in the BVI to form several layers of companies, whose true functions remain undisclosed.