Judge awards octogenarian land bought in 1970s via proxy

Paul Keino proved he paid for part of the 37 acres of land. [iStockphoto

A judge in Kericho has awarded an octogenarian 18.6 acres of land after he proved that he had bought it through a proxy in the 1970s.

Justice Mary Oundo of the Environment and Land Court ruled that Paul Keino, 82, paid for part of the 37 acres of land in Kapkures, Bomet County, through his cousin, Tapnyobii Maina, who is now deceased.

According to evidence presented in court by lawyer Caleb Koech for Keino, the late Maina was a member of  Kapkures Co-operative Society. Koech said Maina approached Keino to pay the cooperative in exchange for a share of the farm.

Koech told the court that one share was equivalent to Sh5,020 and that his client paid Sh4,320 by instalment through Barclays Bank between 1975 and 1977.

“Keino used to take payment slips to the society. Keino was a shadow member because the duo did not want to disclose the arrangement,” he said.

After reaching an agreement, Keino and Maina went to the society offices in 1972. They met the chairman, secretary, treasurer, and other members who agreed to their arrangement and registered the same in the society’s books.

Keino’s witnesses were the society’s chairman, Joseph Tuwei and Joseph Langat, a youth leader in the cooperative.

It was his testimony that they had agreed with Maina the farm be divided into equal shares, an agreement that was recorded by the society committee. 

“Maina only paid Sh700 for the parcel of land. He would not have gotten suit property were it not for the plaintiff’s help,” said Koech.

Keino told the court that he developed the land by building water dams and houses for workers who grazed animals there. He said he constructed the houses in 1972. 

But trouble erupted in 1991 when he fenced off 9.3 acres of the suit property because of a misunderstanding with Maina’s children (sued as personal representatives of the estate of Maina ), who had prohibited him from fencing 18.6 Acres.

Justice Oundo declared that the registration of the defendant as the sole proprietor of all that property known as LR No. Kericho/Emkwen (Kapkures)/290 was illegal, null and void. 

The judge also issued an order of permanent injunction restraining the defendants, servants, agents, assignees or any other person acting on their behalf or authority from interfering with the plaintiff’s quiet possession of his share of the land.