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How a trader in 1910 used one half of his bank note to make a payment

What happens if a currency note gets torn and the pieces are blown away, frustrating any efforts of piecing it together?

Instead of resorting to the antics prescribed by the Biblical teaching that one should spare no energy in looking for a lost coin, one trader insisted on using his mutilated note.    

Mombasa-based trader, Kassam Ismail was not about to give up easily on his money. When his currency note got torn and he could trace one of the half, he reported what he perceived as big financial loss to J W H Parkison, who was acting as the currency commissioner for the East Africa Protectorate.

And in a Gazette Notice dated July 27, 1910, Ismail notified all residents residing in what was is today known as Kenya that he had lost the left half of his currency of 50 Rupees.

“Notice is hereby given that the left half of the currency note, No A05286 for 50 Rupees has been presented to the Currency Commissioner for payment by Kassam Ismail who has satisfied that the other half of the said note was lost while in his possession.”

The purpose of the Gazette Notice was to invite anybody in Kenya who could be holding the other half and felt entitled to the money to contact the currency commissioner or forever remain silent.

“In absence of any such claim being established within three months of this date (July 27, 1910) payment of the said note will be made to the said Kassam Ismail and the note will be cancelled.”

These were interesting times as the government at times showed no mercy to land speculators who failed to develop their land.

When Thomas Charles Hinds secured 4,988 acres of land in August 1907, he thought that he would own the estate for 99 years as per his lease.

He however got a rude shock when Edouard Girouard snatched away the land in Naivasha after three years.

This was after the settler failed to develop the land as he had promised.

While revoking the lease, Girouard noted that Hinds had failed to use the land for the purposes of agriculture by breeding and raising stock, thereby breaching the provisions of Section 18(1) of the Crown Lands Ordinance Act of 1902.

“Now therefore by virtue of the provisions of the said Crown Lands Ordinance 1902, I Col Edouard Percy Cranwill Giroaurd, governor of the East African Protectorate do hereby give notice to the said lease that I intend after one month from publication of this notice commence an action in High Court for a declaration that the said lease be forfeited." 

By Brian Ngugi 7 hours ago
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