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Bitter seven-year legal tussle over ownership of mission hospitals

Health & Science
 Dr Bill Charles Fryda, the founder of St. Mary's Mission hospital during the interview.

 

The court battle the ownership of St, Mary’s mission hospitals in Nakuru and Nairobi has attracted a myriad of court cases, seemingly with no end in sight.

 

Dr William Charles Fryda, a Maryknoll Catholic priest, has been embroiled in the fight with the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi over the control of the multibillion shilling mission hospitals in Elementaita and Lang’ata.

The court gave the parties time to negotiate a solution, but they maintained a hardline position, prompting the Environment and Lands Court in Nakuru to deliver a far-reaching decision on the management of the disputed property.

The court case exposed a bare-knuckle fight over the control of the health facilities that were constructed through funds from donors to provide affordable health care services to the poor.

Court cases

Since 2010, Dr Fryda has not only wrestled for their  control through a number of court cases but has also been sued by the Catholic Church seeking  to kick kicked out of the properties.

In a case at the Nakuru Lands Court, Fryda claimed the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi were holding the hospital in trust until he registered a limited company – St Mary’s Mission Hospital Limited – that would take control of the facilities.

In his testimony before Justice Sila Munyao, he claimed the property, which he singlehandedly developed from donor funds, could not be registered under his name since he was then living in the country as a foreigner.

Holding the land

The Assumption Sisters of Nairobi, on the other hand, claimed they raised money and wanted Fryda stopped from holding the land.

The sisters claimed they were entitled to the land and accused Fryda of interfering with their ownership of the parcel.

The case sucked in the cardinal of Nairobi, John Njue, who in 2010 instituted a suit against Fryda. He lost the case after five years.

Cardinal Njue had sought to have the case filed by Fryda against the Assumption Sisters over the ownership of the hospital struck out.

Justice Munyao ruled that the disputed properties LR No 27228, LR No 2 7229, LR No 9361/10, and Kiine/Rukanga/2846 were not held in trust for Dr Fryda.

He further ruled that the four parcels of land which were in the name of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi as the registered trustees be transferred to St Mary’s Mission Hospitals, a company limited by guarantee.

Charitable trust

He ruled that the company be under a charitable trust for the purposes of developing, maintaining, and/or operating a hospital specifically aimed for the poor in society.

“In respect of accounts, Dr William Fryda to provide details of all accounts forthwith and to surrender the same to St Mary’s Mission Hospital (the company) and if found necessary submit to an audit as directed in this judgement,” the court ruled.

Justice Munyao directed the parties to agree on the position of Dr Fryda in the hospital.

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