Businessman seeks to reclaim 400 acres of land acquired by State

By Wahome Thuku

A businessman is seeking court orders to reclaim more than 400 acres of land he claims were forcefully acquired from him by the Government 30 years ago.

Mr Kiptalam arap Cherunya wants the compulsory acquisition in March 1978 nullified because he was not compensated.

The land said to be for the construction of an industry was instead allocated to individuals, he claims.

The prime land near Eldoret town was allegedly shared among influential people in the Kanu regime. They have since developed it.

In the suit filed in Nairobi through lawyer Katwa Kigen, the businessman claims the land was hived off 617 acres he bought in March, 1963.

The Government gazetted the acquisition notice on May 13, 1978.

The interest on the land arose because it is adjacent to the Rivatex Company.

Kiptalam says he was to receive monetary compensation and alternative land in Kaptagat Forest and part of the Agricultural Development Corporation land in Kitale, Trans Nzoia District.

The businessman says he was only paid Sh1.8 million with a promise that he would receive the balance later.

No survey done

He, however, retained the title deed for the 617 acres and no survey work was done. He says he was never given another land and those who were allocated plots on the 400 acres were issued with new title deeds.

He, however, continued paying rates for the 617 acres to the Eldoret Municipal Council.

He has never been asked to surrender the title deed or transfer the land to anyone.

The businessman has sued the Commissioner of Lands, Chief Land Registrar and the Attorney-General.

He wants the subdivisions and the issuance of new title deeds declared illegal, null and void.

He is also seeking to have the registrar restrained from transferring or dealing with his title deed in any manner and that those who have occupied it be ordered to vacate.

Kiptalam also wants the High Court to award him damages and interests for unlawful deprivation since 1978.

He says he has not developed the other 217 acres as the land has been encroached by other developers.

The case will be heard early next year.