Petitioners seek Sh2b for land in rail project

Residents of Kwale are seeking to lift orders that stopped theNational Land Commission (NLC) from compensating them Sh2 billion for land acquired for the railway project.

In an application filed at the Lands and Environment Court in Mombasa, the residents of Kwale want the court to allow NLC to pay them.

On November 8, 2017, the High Court in Mombasa stopped the compensation after two companies - Kahia Transporters Limited and Trade Lead Limited - filed an application to stop the payment contesting the boundary of 12 plots along the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) corridor.

The protracted court battle has delayed the compensation since 2017.

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The two companies claimed ownership of the land that NLC had acquired from the residents of Kwale, thereby stalling the compensation.

Justice Charles Yano on November 8, 2017, issued an order stopping over Sh2 billion compensation to the residents until the dispute was resolved.

However, yesterday, Julius Mbawa, who is part of a large group seeking compensation, said that the two companies mislead the court into issuing the orders.

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“Through materials and information now in our possession, there is no further justification to further restrain NLC from compensating us for the SGR project,” said Mbawa.

Four other claimants - Kachungo Edward, Charles Mulole, Hamisi Tsuma and Redalu Mbovu - have also been enjoined in the matter as interested parties to benefit from the compensation.

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Mbawa through his lawyer Mark Igunza, said the court had no justification to further restrain NLC from paying them since the orders were obtained through material non-disclosure.

He said that unless the court intervenes and issues appropriate orders, they will continue to suffer irreparable loss and damages.

“The continued delay has caused me and my family untold suffering given that I have not only lost the occupation and use of my property but I have been kept out of compensation,” said Mbawa.

Mbawa has also written to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) complaining about the conduct of Justice Yano and the lawyers representing the two companies.

Disqualify himself

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He wants Yano to disqualify himself from the matter on grounds that he declined to lift the orders despite being made privy of the material non-disclosure by the two companies.

Mbawa said the two companies' claims that they bought two plots from his neighbours thus occasioning a boundary dispute were suspicious because the land in question is freehold.

Justice Yano ordered that the application by Mr Mbawa be heard first before the main suit. The case will be heard on November 12.

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