Three representatives from the Ministry of Lands argued the court that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is the rightful owner of the disputed land near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), worth Sh1.5 billion.
The three, headed by the Chief Land Registrar, asserted that Michael Ohas, a retired civil servant also claiming ownership of the five-acre land, is not the actual owner but DP Gachagua.
Separate court submissions by ministry officials indicated that the title deed possessed by Mr Gachaguas’s company, Wamunyoro Investments Ltd., is legitimate and is part of the Land Registry records.
They claimed that the other title granted to Mr Ohas’ entity, Columbus Two Thousand Ltd., in 2019 is invalid and should be revoked.
“The title held by Columbus Two Thousand Ltd was irregularly issued as the title for Wamunyoro Investment was already in existence and the same had not been legally revoked or cancelled. Under these circumstances, the title held by Columbus Two Thousand Ltd ought to be cancelled unless the court declares otherwise,” said Mr Nyambaso.
In July of this year, Mr Gachagua filed a court petition to have Mr Ohas’ title revoked because it was obtained illegally.
In September 2019, Mr Ohas, a former director of physical planning for the Ministry of Lands, allegedly fraudulently procured a title deed and registered it in the name of a business called Columbus Two Thousand Ltd., he claimed.
The Lands Ministry officials denied Mr Ohas’ company, Columbus Two Thousand Ltd., ownership of the property in separate witness statements filed in court yesterday.
According to them, Peter Nduati Mbugua, Pauline Mulinge, and Karandi Farm Limited were the original registrants of the land in December 2002.
The chief registrar reported that the land was sold to Mr Gachagua’s firm on June 18, 2012, after being purchased for Ksh24 million by State Counsel Allan Kamau.
The property served as collateral for a Ksh150 million loan and a further Sh50 million credit given by Equity Bank on June 27, 2013.
According to records kept by the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, Columbus Two Thousand was given the land in February 1994 for a term of 99 years as an unsurveyed industrial plot by the then commissioner of lands.
One of the requirements in the letter of allotment was the timely payment of fees.
“From the time when the letter of allotment was issued on February 3, 1994, the allottee did not accept the offer neither did they make formal payment of the amounts stipulated in the letter until May 7, 1996, when they wrote to the Commissioner of Lands and accepted the offer,” says the Registrar.
He further mentions that on May 16, 1996, the business paid a partial payment of Ksh50,000.
The offer of assignment to Columbus Two Thousand Limited had expired and the land had reverted to the government by the time the partial payment was made.
On May 1, 1999, the land was given to Mr Mbugua, Ms Mulinge, and Karandi Farm Limited for a term of 99 years at a rent of Ksh110,800 per year. They received a title on December 31st, 2002.
They transferred the property to Wamunyoro Investments on June 18, 2012.
Although Mr Gachagua’s company had the title, according to Mr Nyambaso’s evidence, a new lease title was produced and given to Columbus Two Thousand Ltd. on September 11, 2019. The 99-year lease period started on February 1st, 2019.
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