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Counties

Court dismisses suit against Del Monte land lease

Del Monte farm
Pineapples on a Del Monte farm in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Environment and Land Court has dismissed a petition by two residents of Murang’a who sought to stop the county government and National Land Commission from renewing leases to parcels of land occupied by fruit processing firm, Del Monte.

Justice J G Kemei dismissed the case by Ephantus Githae and James Mwangi stating that the case was premature because the leases are due to expire in 2022.

The judge said the process was still at infancy stage and he was unable to see how the two would be prejudiced if the orders they had sought, would not be granted.

“The suit properties are still in the private entity and the process is at infancy and therefore the questions as to what public interest need to be protected and further what rights have been violated, remain unclear,” the Judge said.

The two residents had sued the National Land Commission and the County Government of Murang’a, and sought to restrain the county government from approving the extension of leases to the fruit processing company.

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The two residents said they were aware that Del Monte had applied for extension and that the company does not have preemptive rights to the lease, after expiry.

They also wanted the NLC and the county government to publish the steps they intend to take to ensure compliance with Articles 60 and 65 of the constitution, in respect to the equitable access and utilisation of the land in question.

The county government opposed the case and admitted that Del Monte had commenced the process of extension but no decision had been made yet.

Last year, a Bench of three judges struck out a similar case saying the High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

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