EACC wins landmark case against former commissioner of lands
By Patrick Kibet | November 8th 2020
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has won a landmark case against former Commissioner of Lands Wilson Gachanja at the Kitale Environment and Lands Court.
EACC had moved to court seeking to have a title deed issued by Gachanja quashed and disputed land reverted Kenya National Library Services (KNLS).
The commission told the court that the land measuring 0.44 ha was alienated to KNLS but in December 31, 1993, Gachanja issued the land to William Kipserem Busienei with a 99-year lease with effect from February 1, 1992.
Gordon Odeka Ochieng, a senior official at the Ministry of Lands, in his statement, noted that the suit land was approved and proposed for construction of a public library in Kitale town in the early 1990s.
Richard Rono, an employee of KNLS based in Eldoret, told the court that the land was reserved for library and accepted for allotment after the State agency paid Sh6,044 land fees to the Ministry of Lands.
He added that in 2010 when KNLS moved to obtain the title deed, it discovered the land had been encroached on and issued to a different entity.
In his defence, Busienei denied all the allegations levelled against him and claimed that he was lawfully given a lease to the suit properties and KNLS encroached on the property.
Busienei was further alleged to have transferred the land to two other parties in 1995.
Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) Assistant Investment Manager Zephaniah Kiprop Rono told the court the Busienei applied for a Sh300,000 loan in 1995 and when he defaulted the land was auctioned. Elizabeth Wanjiru Usagi, in her defence, told the court she bought the land from ICDC and that she was not aware that the suit land was reserved for KNLS at the time of purchase.
Justice Mwangi Njoroge noted that the evidence by surveyors to court showed that KNLS had reserved four parcels of land in 1989.
He noted that having produced a Part Development Plan in 1989, the land was not available for allocation to any other person.
“Having been so reserved that land was no longer available for allocation to any other person as it was already alienated. In the instant case, there was no circumstance that empowered the Gachanja to alienate the suit property to the Busienei,” Justice Njoroge noted.
He held that the allocation of the land to Busienei was irregular and illegal and ordered the charges to loan facility discard.
“A declaration that the Kenya National Library Service is the lawful holder of the leasehold interest in respect of land parcel number Kitale Municipality/Block 6/300 measuring 0.443 Ha for the remainder of the term of 99 years from 1/4/1996 pursuant to the Certificate of Lease issued on August 1, 2011,” the judge ruled.
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