Environment and Lands Court judge John Mutungi has overturned a decision striking out a teachers’ society as defendants from a suit filed by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
Justice Mutungi overturned Justice Sila Munyao’s ruling dated October 29, 2020, and ordered that Nakuru Teachers Housing Co-operative Society (NTHCS) be reinstated as one of the defendants in the case.
KAA says NTHCS did not make full disclosure over its interest in the suit property.
It accused NTHCS of misleading the court that its interest in lands L.R No.4731/2 was limited to 5.2 hectares that State compulsorily acquired.
KAA deposed that it discovered that records at the land registry and investigations conducted revealed that land parcels LR No.4731/2 measured 82.72 hectares.
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Mutungi ruled that NTHCS remained a necessary and essential party to the proceedings of the case because the society will be affected by any future court decisions.
He noted that KAA had laid claim to the land which is registered under NTHCS name.
“If the plaintiff (KAA) is successful, it would mean the court would award the plaintiff LR No.4731/2 which, as I have indicated, is registered in the name of the defendant (NTHCS),” said Mutungi.
He maintained that NTHCS would need to have been heard before a decision that may deprive it of a property registered in its name can be reached.
“I am satisfied that the defendant has an identifiable legal interest in the property that is subject of the suit and is thereof a necessary party in these proceedings,” ruled Mutungi.
He added: “I hold and find that there is sufficient cause to warrant setting aside of order striking out the defendant from this case. I hereby order that the defendant be reinstated as a party to enable the court to effectuate and completely adjudicate on all the issues.”
He, however, ordered KAA to pay Sh15,000 as cost within 45 days for failing to reply to NTHCS’s application in time.
KAA contests that the land located in Lanet, Nakuru County, forms part of over 208.5 hectares acquired by the government for purposes of establishing a civilian airstrip vide gazette notice Nos. 353 and 354 of January 20, 1983.
KAA had mentioned NTHCS, Thuo Commercial Agencies, Chief Land Registrar and National Land Commission as defendants in the suit.
However, on January 29, 2018, NTHCS applied to be struck out of the suit submitting that it had no interest in the subject matter of the suit.
On September 25, 2018, Justice Munyao allowed the application and directed NTHCS to be struck out of the suit after KAA failed to file its response in time despite service.
However, on June 30, 2020, KAA through lawyer Kithure Kindiki, filed an application for the court to review and set aside the orders withdrawing NTHCS from the suit.