A Lands registrar was put to task by a court to explain why he issued a private developer with a new title deed for a disputed prime parcel of land in Nakuru, 25 days after he gazetted it as lost.
Caleb Sunguti, who served in Nakuru before he was transferred to Kericho, was at pains to explain why he could not wait for the expiry of the 30-day notice before issuing a new deed, as required by law.
Sunguti during cross-examination by lawyer Steve Kabita representing former Nakuru Mayor Herman Nderi and gynecologist Douglas Kamau in the case, laboured to explain why he could not wait for gazette notice number 9817 of 2012 he issued on October 6, 2017 to expire.
“Why did you issue the title prior to the date in Gazette Notice? Did the issuance follow the correct procedure?” asked Kabita.
Sunguti had gazetted the lost title belonging to Kinoiyo Limited after the company reported that they had lost it.
In the notice produced in court, the instruction was that a new deed was to be issued to owners 60 days after the Gazette Notice.
However, the title was issued on October 31, 2017, 25 days after the notice and Mr Kabita raised concerns over the legitimacy of the title issued.
After intense pressure from the lawyer, Sunguti changed his earlier claim that the title was lost and said that the notice had a typo.
“The notice was erroneous. It was supposed to be a notice on reconstruction of a lost register and not that of a lost title,” said Sunguti.
“Why have you changed your earlier testimony that there was a lost title and saying it was a typo? Did you correct the error in the Gazette Notice?” asked Kabita.
“No,” answered Sunguti.
“Are you telling me that you have not corrected a 2017 typo in a Gazette Notice? Who is fooling who? Asked Kabita.
Sunguti was testifying before Chief Magistrate Josephat Kalo in a forgery case facing Herman Nderi and Dr Kamau.
The two are accused of forging land documents for Municipality Block 12/128 measuring 1.5 acres located in Milimani, belonging to Ibrahim Surraw and Abdi Mohamed.
The case will proceed on January 22, 2020.