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Firm in Sh17b land dispute with widow asks court to drop case

National
Former Finance Minister Arthur Kinyanjui Magugu. [File, Standard]

A firm battling the former Finance Minister Arthur Kinyanjui Magugu’s widow over Sh17 billion property dispute now wants the court to strike out a case she filed last week.

Karura Investments Limited in its application filed before High Court judge Lawrence Mugambi claimed that the dispute had been heard four other times and settled.

At the same time, Karura claimed that Parliament and the National Lands Commission had also been invited to resolve the dispute and found that the firm legally bought the contested land.

Karura’s lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said Margaret Wairimu Magugu was abusing the court process by re-filing a case that had already been settled before.

“This is a thinly veiled attempt in circumventing the determination of the Environment and Lands Court, which dismissed the petitioner’s suit as statute barred. This is a clear abuse of the court process and forum shopping,” argued Ahmednasir.

Wairimu yesterday filed a fresh application before the same court seeking to have the Chief Justice Martha Koome to empanel a bench of more than three judges to hear the case.

She stated that her dispute with Karura raised serious issues of law that can only be settled by more judges. Meanwhile, Karura’s director Sureshchandra Raichand Shah claimed that it bought the contested land from Magugu in 1993 and has since been occupation and paying rates.

In her case, Magugu’s widow accused Karura of illegally hiving off part of her piece of land in Muthaiga North.

Wairimu alleged that Karura obtained a forged title of the property it is clinging onto.

According to her, the Ministry of Lands and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have confirmed that her late husband never sold or transferred the contested land.

She claimed that Karura intends to sell off at least an acre of the land despite being ruled out as the legitimate owner.

“There is already incontrovertible evidence of how the first respondent (Karura) obtained a title through forgery of a transfer document flagged by the Ministry of Lands and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations,” Wairimu’s lawyer JM Kariuki argued.

The land was part of the about 900 acres her husband and other directors bought from Joreth Company Limited in early 1970s. She lists other directors as late Njenga Karume, Phillip Ndegwa and late Peter Muigai Kenyatta.

Wairimu alleged that the deceased got approximately 101 acres and was registered as the owner.

Justice Mugambi heard that on December 16, 1982 Magugu was issued with a certificate of title.

The widow narrated that nine years later on February 19, 1991, Magugu sub-divided the land into two.

The first parcel measuring 88.6 acres while the second one 12.9 acres.

It is in the process of sub-division that Wairimu claims the alleged forged title on the 88.6 acres was created.

She stated that Karura backdated the transfer to read October 25, 1993. However, she claimed that this was done in 2014, two years after Magugu’s death.

The former minister died on September 15, 2012.

Wairimu sued the Attorney General, Ministry of Lands and Karura.

“The petitioner states that the fraudulent actions of subdividing all the parcel known as LR No 12422/204 into LR No. 12422/318 and LR NO 12422/319 was orchestrated at or by the respondents herein,” she claimed.

The case will be mentioned today. (Friday)

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