EACC moves to court to repossess grabbed judiciary land

The Kadhi’s Court in Nairobi has been operating and paying rent for a grabbed public land that belongs to the judiciary, the anti-graft body has revealed.

The details were revealed in a suit filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) at the Environment and Land Court seeking to recover the land and the building housing the Kandhi’s Court all valued at Sh450 million.

“The property belonged to the judiciary and was in actual possession of the judiciary when it was illegally alienated and grabbed in 1994 before it was again rented out to the judiciary which has been using it as the Kadhi’s court,” said lawyer Purissima Wambugu for the commission.

EACC sued former Makueni MP Eliud Mutua Maundu and Swanya Limited who allegedly took and transferred the property.  Also sued are the company directors Victor Swanya Ogeto and Janet Nyanduko Ogeto alongside former Commissioner of Lands Wilson Gachanja.

According to EACC, their investigations established that in 1951, the Ministry of Transport under the State Department of Housing and Urban Development demarcated the property located along Elgon road, Upper Hill area in Nairobi as government quarters.

The ministry then constructed a house which was allocated to the judiciary for use as a residence for judges and was occupied by a line of High Court judges for several years without any intervening period of non-occupation.

“However in March 1994, the Commissioner of Lands illegally allocated the parcel of land to Maundu who at the time was the MP for Makueni Constituency. The letter of allotment was defective as the same was founded on an unreferenced and unapproved sketch plan,” said Wambugu.

The commission argued that in April 1994, Justice John Michael Khamoni who was residing in the house wrote to the then Chief Justice requesting for intervention so that the allotment could be reversed and the house kept for use by the judiciary.

Wambugu stated that despite the protest, Maundu secured a title deed in March 1995 and transferred the property to Swanya Limited.

The company then charged the property in August 1995 to Daima Bank to secure an overdraft loan of Sh10.4 million which it defaulted in repaying and a a result, the parties entered an agreement to sale the property and share the proceeds.

“The property was illegally, unlawfully and irregularly allocated to the Maundu and the said allocation was therefore null and void and conferred no interest or title to the transferee who benefitted from the proceeds,” said EACC.

Wambugu told the court that the action of the former commissioner of lands in collusion with the former MP leading up to the grabbing of judiciary land was illegal and want the court to revoke all the titles registered in their names.

The commission wants all the transactions culminating in the fraudulent acquisition of the Kadhi’s Court building revoked and ownership reverted to the Judiciary.

We are seeking a declaration that the letter of allotment which conferred the land’s ownership to Maundu is null and void and an order directing the National Lands Commission to revoke and cancel all the titles that had been issued to the named individuals,” said Wambugu.

The Environment and Land Court certified the suit as urgent and issued an order.