Solio Ranch ordered to surrender 200-acre land

Solio Ranch. The conservancy has been ordered to surrender 200 acres of its expansive land. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A wildlife conservancy has been ordered to surrender 200 acres of its expansive land in Laikipia County to a businessman.

Justice James Olola ordered Solio Ranch Limited to transfer the land to James Muchangi Gachemi within 60 days after completing a sale agreement they entered in 2012.

"It was unreasonable for the ranch owners to renege on the agreement after agreeing to sell the land to the businessman just because he could not complete the payment of Sh60 million within the agreed time," ruled Justice Olola.

Justice Olola further stopped Solio Ranch Limited from selling the 200 acres that had already been hived off from their expansive 17,000-acre conservancy sanctuary in Naromoru, Laikipia County, unless the businessman fails to pay the agreed purchase price within 60 days.

Mr Gachemi had told the court that he was approached in 2012 by Solio Ranch Limited through its agent Tysons Limited to buy land in the ranch.

He accepted the offer and bought land for Sh50 million. After completing payment, he said he was offered the 200 acres for Sh60 million. Gachemi said he accepted the second offer and paid a deposit of Sh11 million.

He was left with a Sh49 million balance and he asked the ranch to give him a grace period of 60 days to pay. But the ranch denied his request and purported to cancel the sale agreement.

Justice Olola ruled that it was unfair for the company to refuse to grant Gachemi more time to complete the sale agreement after he had paid Sh61 million for the two parcels of land.

"The evidence on record reveals that he duly complied and that as at the date of execution of the offer on December 10, 2012, the ranch's agents were already in receipt of his Sh10 million being the equivalent of 20 per cent deposit that was required to be paid in 14 days," ruled the judge.

Justice Olola, however, directed that if Gachemi fails to pay the balance, the ranch will be at liberty to cancel the sale agreement and refund his Sh11 million deposit.