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Residents sue private developer for grabbing public health center

NAIROBI
By Paul Ogemba | December 24th 2019

Residents of Parklands have sued a private developer for taking over land for a public hospital to put up a residential building.

The Parklands Community Group accused Garun Investment Ltd and Alif Homes Ltd of forcefully demolishing the Highridge Health Centre after using an illegally acquired title and colluding with Nairobi City County officials to approve the construction.

Through lawyer Kassim Akida, the residents claimed that the hospital has been in existence since 1952 when it was put up by the colonial government to cater for the poor community living around Parklands. It was transferred to Nairobi City County after independence.

Affordable clinic

The residents are seeking orders to stop the private developer from continuing with the construction, and for the Nairobi City County to cancel all building approvals they had granted.

In their court documents, the residents attached a letter written by Golden Crest Properties Ltd to the late Minister for Local Government William ole Ntimama requesting to be allocated the plot. The company indicated that it wanted the plot to construct residential houses. It was then that Ntimama is said to have approved the request and allocated the land to the private developer.

According to the petitioners, Golden Crest Properties Ltd then transferred the land to Garun Investment Ltd in April 2011.

“The minister had no authority to approve the allocation of public land to a private developer. His actions were illegal as it was not approved through a full council meeting, which makes any title being relied on by the company to be a forgery,” said Akida.

Ali Ngoroi, the chairman of Parklands Community Group, in his affidavit to support the application, swore that he has lived in the area for more than 30 years and knew the Highridge Health Centre as a public property until June this year when the company invaded it.

Attempt to demolish

He swore that the clinic has been the only affordable health centre for the underprivileged in Deep Sea slum, Mji wa Huruma, Githogoro and Gachie, with more than 100,000 residents depending on it.

Mr Ngoroi stated that residents became alarmed in February 2011 when the private developer attempted to demolish the clinic, but the action was thwarted by then Minister for Lands James Orengo, who declared the land was public property.

“Mr Orengo confirmed to us that the clinic was a public property and was not available for transfer to a private developer,” swore Ngoroi.

Parties were granted 14 days to respond to the suit.

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