Correspondences between the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and top government agencies and officials reveal a frustrating and tedious quest to reposes Weston Hotel land.
The documents attached to the main case reveal that KCAA had knocked doors in among other places, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), filed complaint before the Paul Ndung’u inquiry in 2004 on grabbed land and even sought help from the police.
On July 3, 2001 former Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita allocated KCAA plots LR Nos. 9187 and 9188 through letter reference No. 51776/XVI, with the agency paying Sh3,530 through cheque no. 005174. “Please let us also have a copy of a deed plan to enable us locate the site for further necessary action,” BSK Muli wrote to Mr Mwaita on behalf of the then KCAA MD Chris Kuto on August 6, 2001.
On August 22, 2001 then Transport PS Francis Muthaura wrote to his Lands colleague Nehemiah Ng’eno asking him to safeguard the plot as it had buildings that provide central storage facilities for sensitive air navigation equipment and spares.
“The true position is that this plot which is strategically located just outside Wilson Airport, is not vacant because it has buildings which provide central storage facilities for senstitive air navigation. To safeguard ownership of this government plot, which seems to attract attention of property developers, I request your office to issue a title deed to the DCA,” Mr Muthaura said. It was not immediately clear whether Muthaura’s order was obeyed.
The government, through the Ministry of Lands, gave KCAA, then known as Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA), allotment letters for the two parcels in 2001 before the agency transferred its equipment from the plot. On October 1, 2002, KCAA Assistant Director B Amukowa communicated the decision to relocate the DCA stores from the Weston land and appointed the officer in charge of the logistics unit, AN Gatta, to spearhead the relocation.
The next day, Amukowa wrote a memo captioned “Special Assignment” to the officer in charge of air navigation services, asking him to report to the DCA Central Stores to coordinate the removal of the agency’s equipment to another location.
On January 6, 2003 when then President Mwai Kibaki’s administration took over, then Transport PS Sammy Kyungu wrote to his Lands colleague, Francis Baya, referring to Muthaura’s letter and complaining that a private developer had fenced off the plot.
“In order to safeguard ownership of this government plot, I request once again and as a matter of urgency issue a title deed in favour of KCAA. Any wrongful allotment of and issuance of title deed that may have been given to any other party should be revoked,” Mr Kyungu said. It is not clear whether this request was acted upon.
“I want to further reiterate the early position of this ministry that the said plot is not available and is among the very important inventory of assets, which the Government is expected to transfer to the KCAA and should not be allocated to any other party,” said Baya in the letter. The land had attracted interest from a lot of private developers, he said, and demanded that the matter be addressed urgently.
“Any wrongful allotment of and issuance of a title deed that may be given to any other party should be revoked,” he said.
On May 29, 2003 F Samara, an officer in charge of air navigation services at Wilson Airport, informed Kuto that a private developer had started constructions. In August 4, 2005, Kuto wrote to then commissioner of police Hussein Ali seeking his assistance to evict unidentified third parties from the disputed land.
“KCAA is the beneficial owner of the land situated along Lang'ata Road opposite Wilson Airport. The land measures approximately two acres,” wrote Kuto. On August 17, 2005, David Kimaiyo replied on behalf of Ali, urging KCAA to move to court first.
“I have been instructed to advice you to obtain a court order that will order the provincial security intelligence committee or police to evict any squatters who have unlawfully settled on the said parcel of land,” replied Kimaiyu. In spite of earlier ownership claims by the government, KCAA approved Ruto’s request to construct a hotel six years later on the very plot the ministry insisted belonged to it.
On April 29, 2008, when Ruto was serving as Minister for Agriculture, KCAA wrote to Priority Management, the then owners of the land, asking for Sh6,000 as fee for inspection and approval.
On December 3, 2008, KCAA again sought to reposes the land. Its Human Resource Manager Joseph Ndung’u said that the land was grabbed.