KAA wins land battle against Nairobi County

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Managing Director Alex Gitari. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has won a battle against Nairobi County over 4.5 acres Embakasi. Environment and Land Court judge Oscar Angote has ruled that KAA has an authentic title to the property used for staff housing.

According to the judge, the county could not produce evidence to show that the property had been allocated to the defunct city council in 1958 and 1973, accepted the allotment and paid for the property.

"No evidence was adduced with respect to the allegations that the defendant's (KAA) property has subsumed the suit properties, which is the foundation of the plaintiff's assertions that the defendant's title is invalid. That being the case, it is the finding of the court that the plaintiff (Nairobi County) has not established its case in this respect," said Justice Angote.

The county told court that KAA had in 2007 approached it, seeking to acquire the contested property, but it declined as the concerned ministry had not consented. It claimed that the airports regulator had claimed that it had in 1998 received a grant on the same property. The county accused KAA of illegally registering its land despite the aborted sale.

KAA denied the allegation, and argued that the contested property has a title issued on July 23, 1998, adding that its land is not part of what the county is claiming.

The county called its principle valuer as its witness. He said the houses were built on four plots, which are part of its social services and housing department. The valuer said at the same time there was an extra plot that is not surveyed and had been allocated for shops, a charcoal depot and a market. The county official said there were other cases surrounding the properties, including one to bar KAA from evicting occupants or collecting rent from the houses.

The valuer however admitted that the title indicated that the contested properties belonged to the authority. The judge heard that the dispute started when KAA decided to kick out tenants under the county.

KAA said it has never claimed the four plots cited by the county. According to the agency, it only has one property under its name and it is different from the county's properties. Court heard it is not clear if the four listed by the county belonged to it.

The County asked the court to declare that the four properties that had not been contested belonged to it, adding that the title that KAA holds should also be cancelled.

I produced two letters as proof of ownership. The first one is dated April,16 1969 for the Nairobi Airport Village-Nairobi Urban district council, measuring approximately 4.5 acres for staff housing. The second one is dated July 13, 1965 for High-Density Housing Site, and the third one September 4, 1964.

Justice Angote said each of the allotment letters carried a specific time frame within which an acceptance of the offer and conditions for payment of the respective charges were to be made. The county, he said, did not provide evidence that it accepted the allotment and paid for them.