SECTIONS

Court orders State to pay freedom fighter Fred Kubai's widow Sh500m for land

Christina Gakuhi Kiragu alias Christina Gakuhi Kubai at the Milimani Law Courts. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

The government has been ordered to compensate the widow of freedom fighter Fred Kubai more than Sh500 million for forcibly taking her land to build a hospital.

Environment and Land Court judge Mwangi Njoroge ruled that Christine Kubai is the registered owner of the 10-acre land in Naivasha, Nakuru County, but since the land has a public hospital built on it, the government must compensate her.

“The government and the Ministry of Health’s action of taking possession of her land amounted to trespass and gross violation of her rights to own property. They had no right to interfere with her possession of the land without following right procedure of compulsory acquisition,” ruled Njoroge.

Justice Njoroge ordered Attorney General, Ministry of Health and County Government of Nakuru to immediately commence the right procedure of compulsory acquisition of Ms Kubai’s land to protect the health centre from demolition and compensate her the current market value of Sh500 million.

In addition, the judge ordered the government to pay Ms Kubai another Sh20 million for trespassing on the land and taking over since 1993.

The widow’s case was that her late husband allowed the Ministry of Health to take possession of the land and build Maai Mahiu Health Centre with the understanding that he would be compensated.

She stated that her husband died in 1996 before finalising the compensation and when she took possession of his properties, she visited several government offices to resolve the manner in vain.

Justice Njoroge ruled that his analysis of the land’s title proved that it was registered in Ms Kubai’s name and has never been transferred to the government.

“She has clearly established that she owns the land. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health has failed to demonstrate that her title has any defect that would invalidate her claim or that they purchased the property or compulsorily acquired it through the right procedure,” he ruled.

Justice Njoroge however ruled that since the widow had admitted that there was already a hospital erected on the land, it will be against public interest to order that the hospital be demolished.

According to the judge, public interest outweighs individual rights and since the hospital has been in existence for 28 years, the best remedy is for the widow to be compensated and have the public continue enjoying the right to healthcare.

He added that the court would have been inclined to issue an eviction order but since matters of public health are matters of public interest, he had strike a balance to save both situations.

He added that the disputed land is a prime property within the town centre of Naivasha which would have allowed the widow to earn decent returns.