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Granny seeks help to recover land in Nairobi

NAIROBI
By Protus Onyango | Apr 18th 2016 | 3 min read
Beatrice Mbithe Mwangangi, 80, with documents she claims support evidence of ownership of her late husband’s 10-acre land. [Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

A granny has petitioned the Government to help her recover her 10-acre prime land in Nairobi.

Beatrice Mbithe Mwangangi, 80, from Tala in Matungulu within Machakos County wants relevant government bodies to help her recover her land, Syokimau Farm Ltd, registered as L.R. No.12715/174.

Mbithe who was married to the late James Mwangangi Kinama said she has all the relevant documents of ownership for the land but suspects she might lose it.

"My husband died in 2000 aged 70 and I have a death certificate to that effect. He had paid all the required levies and was the bonafide owner of the land," Mbithe said.

She then lodged a succession case in the High Court at Machakos on September 27, 2013.

On October 3, the same year, Judge Lilian Mutende of Machakos ruled in her favour.

"I hereby certify the above written grant of representation to the estate of the late James Mwangangi Kinama issued to Beatrice Mbithe Mwangangi therein named has been confirmed by the court pursuant to the provisions of Section 71 (1) and (3) of the Law of Succession Act dated this 3rd day of October 2013," ruled the judge.

The judge's grant confirmed that Plot No. 27 L.R. No. 7149/11/R-Syokimau Farm Ltd, shares with Syokimau Farm Ltd and Plot NO. 19 on L.R. NO. 7149/11/R-Syokimau Farm Ltd be registered in the woman's name.

But now, Mbithe says lawyer James Muoki who helped her with in succession case claims her title deed can't be traced and that the Lands ministry officials said a copy of the title deed that she used to get a new one is forged.

"I have had my title deed for this long but now my lawyer says it is invalid. This is not true. I suspect something fishy because I used to come here with my daughter but the lawyer told me to be coming alone. He made me sign some documents. I request the Attorney General, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Cabinet Secretary for Lands to help me recover my land," Mbithe said.

When The Standard interviewed Muoki at his Nairobi's Town House office, he agreed that he has been handling the case and hit a snag when Lands ministry official said her client's documents were forged.

"I suspect a lawyer who handled her case earlier might have colluded with brokers to sell her land illegally. I have done a lot for the old woman. I have even been using my money to pursue the case. I am the one who paid a surveyor and accompanied him to survey her land," Muoki said.

Documents show that Mbithe's late husband had on December 31, 1984, paid for Sh1,500 as survey fees for the property.

An officer attached to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in Machakos confirmed that Mbithe's documents for the property are authentic.

Also, Muoki's letter to lawyers who had earlier handled Mbithe's case show that he took over the case in 2011 before the judge's ruling.

Muoki has since written a letter to Mbithe to pursue the case on her own.

The letter dated September 7, 2015, states in part: "We have made all efforts tracing your title deed but the Ministry of Lands has insisted that your documents are a forgery. The only way out of this is to lodge a complaint with police regarding people who collected your title deed and file a suit against officials of Syokimau Farm Ltd, Ministry of Lands and Attorney General."

Mbithe has seven children – three men and four women. Agnes Wanzau, her daughter who teaches at Tala Township Primary School said she and her mother last visited the lawyer's office in Nairobi last September.

She claims the lawyer informed them that the land they were pursuing didn't belong to their father.

"That shocked us because all along the lawyer had been indicating that he would help us secure the title deed of the land," Wanzau said.

Mbithe's son Gideon Kinama, a driver at Katwanyaa Secondary School in Matungulu, said the family had been pursuing the land in the last four years without success.

"We are left with no choice but to appeal to the Government to probe the case and help us access justice," he added.

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