KPC loses Upper Hill land to Judiciary

Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) has lost a claim to an acre of land in Upper Hill Nairobi after the High Court ruled that it belonged to the Judiciary

KPC and the Judiciary both laid claims to the parcel that has been in the midst of a legal battle between the two entities.

On August 9, 2019, KPC filed a petition in court seeking reinstatement of the allotment and title to indicate them as original and rightful owners.

KPC cited the Judiciary of Kenya, the National Lands Commission (NLC), and the Attorney General (AG).

However, on February 22, 2024, Justice E.K Wabwoto declared the judiciary as the rightful owner of the said land.

The judge noted that the suit property is registered in the name of the Permanent Secretary, Treasury as a Trustee of the Judiciary.

“In the circumstances and further being guided by Section 26 of the Land Registration Act and the aforementioned cases, it is the finding of this Court that indeed, the Judiciary is the bonafide and legal owner of the suit property vide its title dated April 13, 2010 registered in the names of the Permanent Secretary, National Treasury as a Trustee for the Judiciary,” said Justice Wabwoto.

KPC sought orders declaring them the rightful owners of the property that they claim was irregularly allotted and registered in the name of the Judiciary.

They also sought an order to have their allotment reinstated and the records on the title deed indicate them as the original and rightful owner and issue a permanent prohibition on the judiciary and NLC from interfering with the suit property.

Justice Wabwoto said it is evident that the judiciary is in occupation and possession of the said property.

“Section 107 (1) of the Evidence Act required the KPC (Plaintiff) to lead evidence to support its claim seeking for impeachment of the Judiciary (1st Defendant’s title).

"KPC neither pleaded nor proved any fraud on the part of the Judiciary. KPC never led evidence to this aspect and as such, the Court cannot infer any,” said Justice Wabwoto.

In the defense, Senior Principal Magistrate Joseph Were, currently attached at the office of the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary testifying on behalf of the Judiciary said that the suit property which was initially allotted to the KPC for purposes of erecting its Corporate Headquarters was not realized as anticipated.

Were said subsequently thereafter and upon request by the Judiciary, the land was re-allocated to the Judiciary and KPC was then in exchange offered another property known as L.R. No. 9042/693 in Embakasi.

The Magistrate said that the suit property was resurveyed under Survey Plan No. 307561 and deed Plan No. 307561 dated April 12, 2010, and subsequently registered and issued as L.R. No. 209/19723 (I.R No. 122478) measuring 0.4365 hectares for 99 years from March 1, 2020.

Justice Wabwoto said that the Judiciary’s title is entitled to protection of the law and KPC has not proved any of the grounds set out in Section 26 of the Land Registration Act to warrant the impeachment of the same.

He said Impeaching the same will also be against the principles of land policy as set out under Article 60 of the Constitution.

“While the Plaintiff being a public entity is entitled to the protection of its proprietary rights, it is imperative to note that there was no material evidence placed before this Court to warrant the cancellation of the Judiciary’s title. Equally, from the evidence that was tendered herein, KPC having accepted the alternative land in exchange for the suit property is stopped from changing its position and seeking to have the suit property,” said Justice Wabwoto.