An attempt by a woman to grab her nephew’s land has failed after the Environment and Lands Court ordered her to vacate the property.
Justice Oguttu Mboya ordered Rachel Nduta Mwaura to vacate and hand over the one-acre land in Uthiru, Nairobi County to her nephew Raoul Emanuel Muchene within three months or be forcefully evicted.
“The evidence placed in court demonstrates that the woman was on a mission to defeat and defraud her brother’s son. She abused the courtesy which her brother extended to her to stay on the disputed land and cannot claim ownership,” ruled Mboya.
Justice Mboya declared that Muchene was the lawful owner of the disputed land which he inherited from his father as a gift of love and affection, and that the woman had no proprietary right to claim ownership.
Muchene, an engineer based in the UK, had sued his aunt claiming that she took advantage of his absence to grab his land to build a residential house and commercial apartments.
According to Muchene, his grandfather Caxton Mukiri had several pieces of land in Nairobi and Kiambu and before his death he equally divided the properties among his five children.
He told the court that his father, Godfrey John Muchene, being the last born was given the land in Uthiru while his aunt was bequeathed with an adjacent land within Dagoretti Corner.
He submitted that since they were residing and working out of the country, the family allowed the aunt to put up with her two children in their portion of land which had a house as a temporary measure while she was developing her part of the inheritance.
When his father returned to the country in 2016 to put up their family home, the aunt refused to vacate the portion claiming that she was the rightful owner.
His lawyer Dunstan Omari submitted that the aunt breached the trust that had been placed on her by the brother and the nephew by taking over their land and refusing to vacate.
Justice Mboya agreed with the submissions and ruled that the woman cannot claim adverse possession of the land when it was a family inheritance.
“Her claim of adverse possession is misguided and borne out of greed aimed at defrauding her nephew. She had entered and occupied the property through the authority of her late brother and cannot turn around to grab the land,” ruled Mboya.
According to the judge, Mwaura was present when their father was distributing his properties among the children and even got her own portion, and that it was unfair for her to attempt to disinherit her relatives.
He added that the woman lied that the brother was holding the land in trust on behalf of the siblings when the other siblings were content with what they inherited and had never contested ownership of the one-acre land.
Justice Mboya ruled that should Mwaura refuse to vacate the land within 120 days, Muchene will be at liberty to forcefully evict her and demolish any building she has erected on the land.