A widow who has been in the cold after the government demolished her home and destroyed the husband’s grave is to be compensated Sh9.2 million.
The fee was slapped on the taxpayer following the government’s decision to forcefully acquire Margaret Adhiambo Nelima’s land in Busia County’s Malakisi area without compensating her. It is on the property that the ministry constructed a multi-million-shilling soya bean processing plant.
The High Court also ordered the Attorney General, National Land Commission, Bungoma Land Registrar and the Ministry of Industry, Trade to pay the cost she incurred in her quest for justice.
Justice Samuel Mukunya ruled in favour of the widow after government officials from the four institutions failed to appear in court to defend themselves.
In the case, the ministry carried out a joint land adjudication exercise at Malakisi town for the benefit of the local people and a survey followed few months later. In fulfilling President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2013 directive, Bungoma County government issued title deeds to locals for land they occupied.
Though Nelima’s title was called out for collection at a public baraza, it was not issued to her on grounds that there were orders from above for it to be withheld.
The 0.2 hectares of land belonged to her father in-law and it had not been adjudicated when he died in January 2002. She was registered as the owner when the exercise took place in 2010.
However, on returning home one evening, she was shocked to find her house and the husband’s grave destroyed by bulldozers. The land had been fenced by the ministry for purposes of constructing a Soya beans processing plant.
She was forced to sue the four government institutions and produced in court a report by Dunhill Africa Valuers Limited that valued the land at Sh9.2 million. She also produced a copy of an official search receipt and an original map of the area.
It emerged in court that the widow was the rightful owner of the property and had been registered among those who were affected by compulsory acquisition.
Section 111(1) of the Land Act provides that if land is acquired compulsorily under this Act, just compensation shall be paid promptly in full to all persons whose interest in the land have been determined.
“I presume the said processor is installed for the public good. It should not be destroyed,” read the judgment.