Swazuri goes for land that Moi gave UAE Sultan Zayed


Former president Daniel arap Moi. National Land Commission (NLC) has order United Arab Emirates to return a piece of land in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area to Kenya Railways pension scheme. PHOTO | FILE

National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri has ordered the United Arab Emirates to return to the Kenya Railways pension scheme a piece of land in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area that former President Daniel arap Moi gave its ruler.

Dr Swazuri issued the directive after the commission found that the land was initially allocated to the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme (KRSRBS) in 1965, and Mr Moi’s decision to gift the prime property to UAE ruler Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan 25 years ago was illegal.

The NLC has subsequently ordered the chief land registrar to revoke a title deed Mr Al-Nahyan was given in 1990 for the prime property that is estimated to be worth Sh500 million, and revert its ownership to the KRSRBS.

Mr Moi gave Mr Al-Nahyan the land in January 1990 to construct the Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Centre.

Mr Al-Nahyan was the man behind the formation of UAE and ruled the country for 33 years until his death on November 2, 2004 at the age of 85. His gift has since been managed by trustees—Rajab Sumba and Khan Mirhassan—who appeared before the NLC.

“The property was vested to the KRSRBS at the time it was allegedly being allocated to Registered Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. Once land is registered it is not available for allocation to another party. Therefore the land was not available for allocation to anyone, not even the Registered Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan by President Moi.”

“The L.R. Number 11552 registered to the Registered Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan is illegal. The NLC directs the chief land registrar to revoke title 11552. The portion of land reverts to the KRSRBS,” Dr Swazuri says in the ruling delivered last week.

The trustees had argued that Mr Al-Nahyan was given the property after the UAE applied to the Kenyan government for land.

They added that the land is yet to be developed, but is the subject of another ownership dispute with a firm identified as Pelican Engineering Construction Company.

The trustees have sued Pelican for allegedly grabbing the land, and the matter is still pending determination before the High Court.

KRSRBS claimed that Kenya Railways Corporation was allocated a 6.88 acre piece of land in Upper Hill. The pension scheme added that it had inherited most of Kenya Railways’ land after its formation in 2006.

The pension scheme added that it was surprised to learn that the land had been subdivided and allocated to other parties, including the UAE president.

Mr Al-Nahyan’s trustees held that they were given a title deed after paying land rent, fees for survey, conveyance, standard premium and stamp duty.

But the NLC questioned how survey of the disputed land was done, and faulted the trustees for not explaining why their documents referred to the property as “un-surveyed”.

The KRSRBS has also lodged complaints with the NLC over other pieces of land in the same location.
One of the disputed parcels hosts the Rahimtulla Towers, while the other was allocated to former Head of Civil Service Joseph Leting.

The late Leting’s family last year won a court battle against the NLC over the Sh450 million piece of land.
Justice George Odunga ruled that the contested piece of land was registered as private land in November 1988, hence the NLC whose mandate is restricted to public land had no authority to investigate Mr Leting’s acquisition of it.
The KRSRBS has asked Justice Odunga to review his judgment, arguing that Mr Leting and his family had intentionally excluded the pension scheme from the suit in a bid to hoodwink the court into delivering a favourable ruling.

Ismail Rahimtulla Trustees in February last year filed a suit against the NLC, seeking to bar it from hearing the complaint KRSRBS has filed over the land.

The Ismail Rahimtulla Trustees have obtained a temporary court order barring the NLC from proceeding with hearing of KRSRBS’ complaint over the prime property. The KRSRBS told the NLC that it has already recovered 2.5 acres of the original land parcel, and that it is awaiting resolution of other suits revolving around the other properties.