MP Gachagua asks court to dismiss land dispute case against him

MP Rigathi Gachagua

Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua has asked the court to dismiss a land dispute application challenging his ownership of a piece of land in Nairobi.

The MP has been sued by one John Michael Ohas and Columbus two thousand limited who are claiming the ownership of the said land.

In his affidavit, Gachagua maintains that his company, Wamunyoro Investment Limited bought the said piece of land known as LR No. 209/12077, I.R 90923 from Karandi Farm Limited, Peter Nduati Mbugua and Pauline Muringe in June 2012 and obtained a genuine title deed from the lands office.

“The applicants; application is frivolous, grossly misplaced, gravely misconceived, fatally and incurably defective and therefore an abuse of the  court process,” states the MP.

Through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, Gachagua says that on 30th April 1999, Karandi, Mbugua and Muringe were allotted the aforesaid suit property for valuable consideration in the sum of Sh 544,000 which sum was duly paid to the Government of Kenya and therefore a certificate of title issued in respect thereof.

He adds that the three later approached Wamunyoro Investment with the intention of selling the suit property and they consequently carried out due diligence and was able to confirm and/or ascertain that the seller’s certificate of title was authentic.

“Following the completion of the exercise, the 6th respondent purchased the suit property for valuable consideration from the 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents in the sum of Sh 24 million and thereafter a transfer was effected in its favour and a title deed issued.” says the MP.

Gachagua says he has been paying land rates to the Nairobi county government for the said land to date.

The Mp said he is aware that 26th January 2016, the applicants lodged a formal complaint wit the national Land Commission against his company where Ohas alleged in his affidavit that he was allotted the said land on or about 3rd February 1994 and the land was soon after invaded by squatters who made it impossible for him to access or utilise the property as intended.

Ohas added that the government evicted the squatters sometime in 2012 and with a view of developing the property, he visited it and discovered it had been fenced off by someone claiming ownership. He said he investigated and found out that the title deed had been issued to another person without his knowledge.

He believed the issuance of the title to another person in disregard of his interests was illegal because he had prior rights which ought to have been given precedence.

After the complaint, the NLC conducted public hearings for the same on 23rd February and 15th March 2016 at ACK Garden annex in Nairobi where the applicants were represented by Mr. Kiingati of Kairu Mbuthia and Kiingati advocates and Wamunyoro was represented by Nyachoti and therefore not true that the applicants were not represented al the alleged in the application.

After the hearing, the commission found that the property was allocated to Mbugua, Muringe and Karandi limited and later transferred to Wamunyoro for the sum of Sh 24 million and that the property is currently charged to Equity Bank for Sh 200 million with effect from 27th June 2013.

On the other hand, Columbus 2000 was unable to produce the original letter of allotment or a receipt showing that they had accepted the offer or paid for allotment.

“It is instrumental to state that one of the conditions for allocation is acceptance of the offer of allocation and payment of all statutory payments including stand premium of Sh 692,000 and annual rent of Sh 138,400 within 30 days of the postmark,” ruled the commission.

According to the commission, Ohas did not demonstrate to the commission that they accepted and paid the requisite statutory payments to the government. “This may explain why they were not issued with the grant and no title was registered in their name.

The MP said that he has been informed by their lawyer that since the said decision was delivered on 24th March 2016, the applicants have never taken any steps to review, set aside and/appeal the decision.

Gachagua states that the commission sits as a tribunal exercising quasi-judicial authority and therefore merits of its decision cannot be reopened and or interrogated by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations since the law had not designated the DCI as an appellate body over the decisions of the commission.

He says the attempts by the DCI to exercise such powers as set out in the applicant’s affidavit is illegal and unconstitutional since it is the mandate of the High Court and the Court of Appeal .