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Trader sues Swazuri for contempt over disputed land

By Fred Makana | December 29th 2015

A Nairobi property developer is back in court seeking compensation over a water reservoir land recently repossessed by the Government.

Shital Bandhari's application seeking to cite National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri for contempt of court was however put off by vacation judge Justice Joseph Onguto until January 19.

The judge said the court will not hear the contempt application before seeing a reply by Swazuri on the allegations.

"Until NLC responds to the said contempt allegations, this court directs that the matter be be heard alongside the main suit," said Onguto, who certified the matter urgent.

The court said unless the defendant has responded to the application, the matter will be heard on the date allocated.

Bandhari wants Swazuri to compensate him Sh10 million for the loss occasioned by the destruction of the property. He claims the destruction was done even though a court order had been issued on November 5, stopping it.

The land is located at Loresho area within Nairobi County, which according to Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, who filed the suit, is public land.

The businessman claims in the contempt papers that on December 21, the NLC chairman and Inspector General of Police descended on the suit property and halted construction at the site.

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The developer's lawyer, Masore Nyangau, said he had no objection to giving the defendant time to file response to the application.

On December 18, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko obtained an order stopping construction works by the developer on the suit land meant for a water reservoir.

The land is said to have been grabbed and construction works have commenced despite restraining orders against Bandhari.

The orders were issued by Resident Magistrate Peter Muholi, who said no activity should take place on the land known as Nairobi/ Block 90/599 until the matter is heard inter parties on January 20.

The senator, through his lawyer, Martin Kuruga, told the court the land is reserved for a water reservoir that supplies water to county residents.

 Bandhari is alleged to have unlawfully taken possession of the property from people who claimed to have obtained a lease from Nairobi City Council.

Kuruga told the court that the developer has even chosen to ignore an order from NLC, which suspended any construction work on the suit land.

He said the matter is still pending for review before NLC and no activity can take place on the public property.

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