Eldoret Lands and Environment court awarded two families Sh4.5 billion for loss of their land which has since been turned into Langas Estate by the defunct Eldoret Municipal council.
In a landmark ruling yesterday, Justice Anthony Ombwayo, ordered the State to pay the families of Kiptott arap Sitienei and Joseph arap Korir both deceased, the money. The case was filed by Pius Tott, the son of the late Sitinei who is also the administrator of the vast land.
“I am awarding the petitioner compensation to the tune of Sh4.5 billion including interest and costs incurred in filing the suit for being deprived of the right to ownership of the prime land which he legally owned as indicated in the title deed,” ruled the judge.
The ruling is a reprieve for families that have battled the court case since 1967 after their farm was grabbed. The suit property registered as LR No 8500, also known as Eldoret Municipality Block 22, or Langas estate covers 1,050 acres and comprises the sprawling Langas estate, which is almost a third of Eldoret town.
Situated along Eldoret-Kisumu highway just less than five kilometers from the CBD, the disputed land has more than 200,000 residents and public facilities, including schools, colleges, police stations and hospitals.
The petitioner had sought Sh8 billion as compensation.
Ombwayo ordered Mr Tott to surrender the land title deed to the government now that he is set to be compensated for losing the right to ownership of the property.
The Judge gave the government green light to initiate the process of issuing land title deeds through the Ministry of Lands and National Land Commission to the current families occupying the land.
The Judge declined the petitioner's prayers to evict thousands of dwellers on the property saying this would expose them to untold sufferings.
He argued that the current occupants and other public and private institutions have carried out billions of shillings of investments on the property.
“I concur with the prayers of the petitioner that his parent was the rightful owner of the land since he has the original title deed to the property unlike the new occupants who have nothing to show for the ownership of the plots they are living on,” ruled Ombwayo.