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Ruto hotel's fresh bid to stop case

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | July 11th 2021

The main gate of Weston Hotel along Lang'ata road. [File, Standard]

Lawyers representing Weston Hotel have filed a fresh application to stop Monday’s hearing of its case with Kenya Civil Aviation Authority at the Environment and Lands Court.

The case is scheduled to start on July 12, 2021, after Justice Bernard Eboso dismissed Weston’s argument that it had no powers to hear the case.

In June last year, Weston, that is associated with Deputy President William Ruto, urged Justice Eboso to dismiss Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA’s) case arguing that the court had no powers to hear it.

The hotel argued that KCAA had defied National Land Commission’s (NLC) orders to conclude negotiations on the land after which Ruto would compensate it.

Weston argued the only way the agency would approach the court was through an appeal and not a fresh case. The hotel stands on a 0.773-hectare parcel opposite Wilson Airport. 

While disagreeing with the hotel, Justice Eboso in March this year said the court had powers to hear cases emanating from the commission. The judge ordered parties to prepare for the hearing of the case on July 12.

The hotel now wants the court to postpone the hearing, arguing that it intends to appeal the ruling.

Given that the 2021 land’s court calendar is full, in the event Weston’s lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi convinces the judges to suspend hearing the case, then it will be heard next year amidst political campaigns.

KCAA sued Weston arguing that the land was illegally acquired. It wants the court to compel the hotel to return the land adjacent to Wilson Airport. Weston has applied, arguing that it is extremely urgent.

“The matter is now scheduled for highlighting of submissions on July 12, 2021. Unless the stay of the further proceedings is granted, the intended appeal will be rendered nugatory for the appeal is likely to be overtaken by events and the applicant shall suffer irreparable harm and injury,” the application seen by Sunday Standard reads in part.

Although the hotel is yet to file an appeal, it argues its intended appeal has a likelihood of success.

It intends to raise 11 grounds of appeal. On the first ground, the DP’s hotel argues the court had no powers to hear KCAA’s case as a new matter.

The main gate of Weston Hotel along Lang'ata road. [File, Standard]

During the hearing, it argued that the aviation regulator ought to have filed an appeal.

Weston is also aggrieved that the judge failed to find that NLC has powers to hear and determine cases involving public land.

“The impugned ruling offends the doctrine of exhaustion of remedies and condones the prohibition against the principle of Constitutional avoidance,” noted Weston.

“The ruling of March 3, 2021, will occasion a gross miscarriage of justice unless stayed.”

KCAA accuses Weston of using delaying tactics. KCCA director-general Gilbert Kibe says the case had been set for hearing last year but Weston filed applications that delayed it.

He says the hotel has failed to file its submissions.

“This application is specifically intended to delay the hearing of the substantive petition for nefarious reasons… The second respondent (Weston) has not filed submissions on the main petition for over two years now in breach of directions issued multiple times,” KCAA’s lawyers Otiende Amolo and Stephen Ligunya replied.

KCAA argues the intended appeal cannot be a reason to adjourn a case. 

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