Blow to miller as court revokes land title deed

Busia governor Sospeter Ojaamong (right), human activist Okiya Omtatah (far left) and regional chairman of Chinese Investors William Zhou (second from right) when they visited Nasewa Nucleaus Estate on 23rd July 2019. [Ignatius Odanga/Standard]
The Government has reclaimed 843 acres it had given Busia Sugar Company (BSC).

On Tuesday, the National Land Commission (NLC) issued a new title deed bearing a different name for the land located in Nasewa, Matayos Constituency.

The State acquired the land from residents of Nasewa in the 1990s and handed it over to the miller to construct a factory.

The firm was never set up and only existed on paper. BSC was later put under receivership with Mumias Sugar Company claiming the land on grounds that the former owed it Sh100 million.

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Mumias later put up the Nasewa Nucleus Estate for sale to a private company, Kaplony Enterprise Ltd. The decision prompted human rights activist, Okiya Omtatah, to sue Mumias and Busia sugar companies in 2012.

Other respondents in the case were former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Wetang’ula, Adan and Makokha Advocates, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority.

Omtatah wanted the court to declare any alienation, transfer of encumbrance of the land to BSC, Mumias Sugar Company or Kaplony Ltd null and void since everything was done illegally.

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On July 31, 2018 the Environment and Land Court in Bungoma revoked the Busia Sugar Company’s title deed, putting to rest a six-year legal battle on the ownership of the 843-acre Nasewa land.

The court concluded that it was wrong for the land, which was donated by locals, to be allocated to private companies for their own use.

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The judge declared that BSC was a private limited company with shareholders being the Government, MH Da Gama Rose — the representative of Booker Tate in Kenya and Reliant Holdings Ltd.

“It is, therefore, my view that the suit land should revert to the acquiring Government ministry so as to achieve the initial objective of acquisition to build a sugar factory for public benefit and to protect the public interests,” reads part of the judgement.

On Tuesday, Omtatah received the new title deed for the land. Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has given Chinese Investors the green light to construct an agricultural industrial park on the land.

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GovernmentBusia Sugar CompanyTitle deed