Court rules MP acquired prime land through fraud

Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria during a past press conference. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Environment and Lands Court has ruled that Nakuru Town East Member of Parliament David Gikaria acquired a 0.101 hectare parcel of land fraudulently.

The court made the declaration following a case filed by Galana Oil Kenya Limited against the MP, land registrar Nakuru and the Attorney General in July 2014.

The oil company in the suit averred that it purchased the parcel of land on August 7, 2009, took possession of it and was later issued with a title deed on July 26, 2010. Galana Oil said the MP trespassed the property in March 2014.

The AG and the land registrar filed a defence in which they denied the allegations. Gikaria through an application dated August 19, 2019, sought to set aside proceedings and defend the claim.

The court, in a ruling in June 2020, approved his application to defend the suit. However, he failed to satisfy the conditions set by the court and his application was dismissed.

George Kahira, the director of Galana Oil in his testimony before the court produced a certified copy of the title deed and added that they bought the plot at Sh800,000 from Mid Oil Africa Ltd through a sale agreement dated August 7, 2009. He presented a copy of the agreement to the court.

Kahira said a search conducted before the execution of the sale agreement indicated that the plot belonged to Mid Oil Africa Limited.

Mid Oil Africa acquired the plot from Parafina Investments Ltd through a transfer dated February 8, 2000. Parafina Investments Ltd had bought the property from Chege Mbatia who was the first registered owner. He urged the court to cancel the MP’s title.

The land registrar and the AG in their submissions conceded that there are indeed two parallel titles in respect of the suit property but added that Galana Oil failed to establish fraud against the defendants to the required standard.

The court in its judgment said Gikaria did not adduce any evidence to show how he acquired the land while it was registered under another company.

“The first defendant (Gikaria) has not adduced any evidence to show how it acquired title to the suit property on September 17, 2003, when Mid Oil Africa Limited which sold it to the plaintiff was already the registered owner from as far back as March 8, 2000,” read the court judgment.

The land registrar, according to the court also failed to explain how he ended up issuing a parallel title to Gikaria.

“I am satisfied that the plaintiff has established that Gikaria’s title was obtained unlawfully and through fraud,” stated Justice Dalmas Ohungo in his judgment.

The judge made a declaration that Galana Oil is the legal owner of the land and that the title held by Gikaria is cancelled.

“A permanent injunction is hereby issued restraining Gikaria, his agents, servants, employees from entering, disposing of, selling, dealing with the plaintiff’s possession and occupation of land,” the court ruled.