Lands commission asks CJ to appoint three judges to determine dispute over Ruaraka schools land

CJ David Marga and European Union representative Bruno Pozzi during the launch of legal empowerment and aid delivery in Kenya. [George Njunge /Standard]
The land agency wants Chief Justice David Maraga to assign judges to determine ownership of the controversial Ruaraka land.

Through senior counsel Tom Ojienda, the National Land Commission (NLC) argued that the dispute whether the 13.5 acres on which Ruaraka High School and Drive-In Primary School are built is private or public land was a weighty issue that could only be determined by a three-judge bench.

“The compulsory acquisition of the land has raised immense public interest and debate as to whether it is public land and not private land. The dispute is unique in nature given that the Government has paid a substantial amount, which requires an uneven number of judges,” he told Justice Loice Komingoi yesterday.

Among the issues Prof Ojienda wants determined is whether NLC was justified in approving a Sh1.5 billion payment to businessman Francis Mburu after proving he had the original title deed.

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The commission filed the suit last week in a bid to set the record straight on the controversy that is under investigation by Parliament, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

“NLC did due diligence in ascertaining whether the land was private or public. The records showed that it was private land and the commission cannot be held responsible for facilitating the transfer from private to public land,” said Ojienda.

But the EACC and the County Government of Nairobi opposed the application. They urged the court to dismiss it and allow investigators to complete their work.

In a replying affidavit by forensic investigator Alfred Mwendwa, EACC said it had evidence showing how Mr Mburu colluded with top Government officials at the Ministry of Education and NLC to steal Sh1.5 billion.

The judge scheduled the hearing for August 25.

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