One of Mombasa’s oldest health institutions, Pandya Memorial Hospital, is embroiled in a land saga after the National
Land Commission accused it of building some of it wings on a school land. However, Pandya hospital administrator Rajesh Shukla has denied the allegations of grabbing part of the land belonging to Mbaraki Girls Primary School, even as NLC chairman Muhammad
Swazuri insists his commission has already started the process of restoring it. According to Prof Swazuri, another company, a madrassa and an individual have also been implicated in the encroachment, which has seen the school cumulatively lose two acres of its land.
According to the National Land Commission (NLC), up to a quarter of the hospital's land belongs to Mbaraki Girls Primary School.
But the hospital has rejected the claims, insisting that it got the land legally.
The disputed part of the hospital houses the out-patient wing and doctors' plaza, which are new sections of the hospital.
The hospital was built by Mamujee Brothers Foundation and started operations on February 24, 1947.
NLC wants the hospital to restore the section of grabbed land to the school or prove its ownership claim within seven days.
On Monday, NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri caused a stir when he toured the school, which was established in 1950, and declared the hospital and three other developers have taken the school's land and warned the alleged illegal acquisition will be reversed.
Prof Swazuri said: "Pandya Hospital has encroached on part of the school land and we have initiated the process of restoring the land."
But the hospital administrator, Mr Rajesh Shukla, denied the allegations of irregular acquisition of the land, saying they followed procedure and have all the necessary ownership documents, including a title deed and letters of allotment.
"We did not grab the land and we have not received any formal complaints either. We have all the documents to prove ownership and we have been promptly paying land rates," Mr Shukla said.
Swazuri, who toured the school on Monday evening in the company of Mombasa County Executive for Land Antony Njaramba and headmistress Nuria Huka, said NLC had written letters to Pandya Memorial Hospital and the owner of a madrassa class and Mbaraki Nursery School over the issue.
He said the hospital grabbed the school land for expansion in the 1980s.
Swazuri said the commission had initiated the process of recovering the school land after he received complaints from the school management.
He asked the school to start building a perimeter fence and advised the Mombasa County government to secure all public primary schools by fencing them.
Mr Njaramba said the county government has been working closely with NLC to ensure recovery of all grabbed public land in the county.
"We have been working closely with the commission over the Mbaraki school land and all other matters regarding public land to ensure the allocations are revoked. I am warning private developers to stop encroaching on school land," Njaramba said, adding that the county government was putting up walls in some of the 98 public primary schools to protect them.
Swazuri said the original school land measures 7.5 acres but two acres have since been encroached upon.
He said NLC had gone through the original map and discovered part of the land taken by the hospital belonged to Mbaraki Girls Primary School.
"The next portion of the school that has been encroached on is the madrassa class, which has been constructed within the school compound," Swazuri said.
He said the commission has also written to two individuals who acquired title deeds for part of the school land.
He directed Pandya Memorial Hospital, the owner of the madrassa class and Mbaraki Nursery School to submit their ownership documents within one week.
"There is need for them to explain how they obtained the ownership of the disputed land yet it was part of the school compound," Swazuri said.
At the same time, Swazuri said the commission was working on a programme to ensure public schools in the country are issued with title deeds by March, next year.
He said the commission had received 7,600 applications from school management committees across the country and processed 672 school title deeds.