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Parklands residents move to court over hospital land

By Collins Kweyu | April 15th 2021

Residents of Ridge-ways in Parklands Nairobi when they held a demonstration over alleged grabbing of Highridge hospital land on 13th April 2019.[Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Residents of Parkland in Nairobi and a private developer are locked in a court dispute over ownership of two parcels of land that allegedly belongs to the public.

They have filed a case at a Milimani court through the Parklands community group chairman Ali Ngoroi, who in the court documents said that the plots were set aside by the government for the construction of a public hospital known as Highridge Health Centre.

 The court papers add that the registration of the land and the reference numbers were changed in 1996 and transferred to Golden Crest Ltd which had allegedly been allocated one of the plots by the then Minister for Local government.

 The papers indicate the company later sold the land to Harun Investment Ltd, which is the current registered proprietor.

 A new title was also issued and the public hospital has been brought down to pave way for the ongoing construction of commercial and residential apartments, which has since commenced.

 Ngoroi terms the changes as fraudulent and illegal because the property is a lease held by the Nairobi city government in trust for the public and specifically the local community who are urban poor living in nearby slums such as Deep sea which houses more than 800 people, Masai, Kwa Njoroge, City park forest, Mji wa huruma, Gathogoro, Muringa and Gachie slums.

 “The named slums are believed to have a population of more than 100,000 who are economically underprivileged and live a poor life,” states a section of the papers.

 Ngoroi said there have been no minutes by the Nairobi county government nor its predecessor Nairobi city council to surrender the suit property of the government and any private individual and therefore the process of transfer to Defendants is not only fraudulent but also illegal.

He said the public is threatening to organize demonstrations following the sale of the land and demolition of the health facility.

 The group wants the court to issue a permanent injunction against the private development and restoration of the land to the public.

 In February last year, the Environment and Lands Court ordered for status quo pending the hearing of the dispute, but the order is now subject to a new row involving contempt.

 On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, filed a contempt of court application seeking to have the developers penalised for continuing to deal with the property.

In the application, he says the contractor has already finished the slab of the first floor of the building.

 "If the defendants are not restrained from continuing with the construction on illegally acquired public land, the applicants and the public at large who depended on the clinic for medical services stand to be greatly prejudiced. This court also risks being brought to ridicule and disrepute if its orders are disobeyed without any intervention from the court," Ngoroi said.

Justice Lucy Komingoi directed Garun Investment Ltd and Alif Homes Ltd to file their responses to the case while the hearing is scheduled on June 22, 2021.

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