Delamere Estate sued over breach of contract

A businesswoman has sued owners of the Delamere Estate for prematurely terminating a lease agreement for a 262-hectare piece of land.

Jacqueline Damon on Monday told Justice John Mutungi of the Environment and Lands Court that Hugh Cholmondeley and Philip Coulson, the estate owners, illegally issued a notice to terminate the lease.

Ms Damon operates the Sleeping Warrior Lodge in Naivasha, which is situated on the contested land.

Through her company, Mawe Mbili Ltd, Damon wants Delamere Estate stopped from trashing the lease agreement.

“The defendants (Delamere) were in breach of contract when they issued a notice of termination of lease agreement dated November 28, 2018 to Mawe Mbili Limited,” said Damon.

She wants the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with her possession of the land.

Damon has also asked the court to order that the dispute goes to arbitration.

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She said Mawe Mbili Ltd took ownership of the land on May 27, 2008. The lease agreement was prepared on July 6, 2007.

35 years

The agreement was supposed to run for 35 years.

Damon revealed that on March 11, 2017, the Sleeping Warrior Lodge experienced a fire accident, with 90 per cent of the camp site being razed, which left her counting loses.

She said it was after this incident that Delamere Estate started demanding for the termination of the lease agreement.

Damon has, however, said the fire should not be the basis of a lease termination. This is because the tents were being reconstructed and would be insured.

Mr Coulson, who was submitting on behalf of Delamere Estate, agreed that there was a lease agreement running for 35 years.

He, however, claimed that since the fire incident, the camp site has never been reconstructed and no business was going on. Therefore, the value of the site continues to depreciate.

He also claimed that the estate's efforts to reach out to Damon through emails and letters to explain the site's position have been futile.

“There have been no tourism activities on the site for over two years now, which violates the lease agreement,” said Coulson.

He said Damon's suit was an abuse of the court process and should be dismissed.

The case will be mentioned on February 3, next year.

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Delamere EstateJacqueline DamonBreach of contract