Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung'aro hit as court cancels leases

Gideon Mung'aro

Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung'aro has suffered a major setback after the High Court in Malindi cancelled 27 prime land leases issued in two settlement schemes on the Malindi beach in 2012.

Two weeks ago, the court made a ruling that will see Mr Mung'aro and others surcharged for making illegal land allocations.

In the run up to the last General Elections, Mr Mung'aro and other local leaders pressed the Lands ministry to investigate past allocations in the settlement schemes. But now the High court has ruled that these efforts were illegal, unconstitutional and ended up dispossessing land from lawful owners.

Mung'aro initiated the formation of a task force which nullified previous allocations in the controversial Kilifi/Jimba and Chembe Kibabamshe settlement schemes and transferred the prime properties to new owners.

The task force was funded by the Malindi Constituency Development Fund and its findings, which the court has now declared illegal and unconstitutional, formed the basis for transferring the properties to new owners.

Five companies that were dispossessed of the prime land went to court in September 2012 to challenge the legality of the task force, its findings and constitutionality of the cancellation of their leases.

The companies sued the Government, former Commissioner for Lands Zablon Mabea, then Chief Lands Registrar and then Kilifi District Lands Registrar Athman Juma, the County Government in Kilifi, the task force and Mung'aro.

The MP was the seventh respondent in the suit for writing a letter to the Commissioner for Lands seeking the revocation of titles at the two settlement schemes in favour of fresh allottees.


The task force was formed in June 2010 to investigate and recommend findings of these settlement schemes.

On May 8 this year, the petitioners prevailed when Justice Oscar Angote declared that the process spearheaded by the task force was "unconstitutional, null and void" and ordered Mung'aro and the other respondents to pay the costs of the suit.

It was the second blow to Mung'aro in two months over this matter following a recommendation by the Director of Public Prosecution DPP Keriako Tobiko for his investigation over these allocation.

In March, Tobiko said  Mung'aro should be investigated over land fraud at the controversial Chembe Kibabamuche Settlement Scheme.

Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda terminated a trial of Mr Juma that had been in court since 2010 and ordered a new investigation into the said prime land fraud, which Tobiko now said should include Mung'aro.

The DPP said Mung'aro, who was the Malindi MP during the allocation, was wrongfully let off the hook during the investigation of a lease title that was reportedly issued illegally in 2010.

In the latest ruling by the High Court Justice Angote ruled that the title deeds which were issued to villagers at Kilifi / Jimba and Chembe Kibabamshe settlement scheme  after the nullification of past leases were unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

In a 52 page judgment the judge ordered Mungaro, Commissioner of Land,The Chief Land Registrar and Kilifi District Land officer to pay petitioners the cost of the suit.