MPs give Ng'ang'a 14 days to prove land ownership

Apostle James Ng'ang'a with his lawyer Silvanus Osoro when he appeared before the Departmental Committee on Lands regarding the contention of ownership of land currently occupied by Neno Evangelism center church, Nairobi. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The National Assembly departmental committee on lands has given controversial preacher, James Ng’ang’a, owner of the Neno Evangelism Centre, 14 days to provide evidence he claims to have to support his ownership of the contentious parcel of land which Kenya Railways is also claiming ownership.

Appearing before the Committee Chaired by Joash Nyamoko (North-Mugirango) Thursday, Ng’ang’a defended ownership of the piece of land where his Neno Evangelism church stands arguing that he bought the land from the Central Bank of Kenya in 2004.

“In 2004 I saw an advert showing land for sale. I went to the Central Bank and was directed to the people linked to that piece of land and we started discussions. They sold the land to me at Sh32 million. I was to pay 10 per cent and then pay the rest within 90 days,” said Ng’ang’a.

However, the preacher explains that he later found another advert for the same piece of land in a gazette notice and again he applied to purchase it for the second time.

“We went and reapplied and they said we now have to pay Sh42 million. We signed that agreement, I went to Equity Bank and they paid the title deed for me,” he explained.

He added that he finished paying the loan in 2008 upon which he received the title deed under the name “Neno Evangelism Center”.

Ng’ang’a pulled in former CS James Macharia claiming that he had summoned him to his office concerning the said piece of land.

“I was called by former Transport CS James Macharia and he asked me where I got the plot. I showed them the documents linked to the piece of land and he told me ‘We do not have this in our records’. From that day Macharia did not call me back,” he said.

“I have been there all that time, and no one has ever come to challenge the ownership of that land,” added the preacher.

Ng'ang'a was represented before the Committee by Lawyers Sylvanus Osoro and Susan Kemunto.

The preacher had initially been scheduled to reappear before the Committee in 14 days, but the sitting was rescheduled to a later date after it emerged that the matter was already before the Court where he and the Church are Respondents in several suits.

In November 2023, the Kenya Railways Corporation initiated legal proceedings against Neno Evangelism Registered Trustees and three other individuals, with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) listed as an interested party. The lawsuit, which seeks a mesne profit of Sh500 million, alleges discrepancies regarding land ownership.

Conversely, EACC independently sued the preacher and the Neno Evangelism Centre Registered Trustee, aiming to reclaim land purportedly belonging to the Kenya Railways Corporation but allegedly seized by private developers.

In a separate legal action, Ng'ang'a filed a lawsuit against Kenya Railways in August 2023 concerning land parcel number 209/12361. Subsequently, Kenya Railways responded with a defence filed in September 2023. Notably, the corporation amended its defence, introducing a counterclaim and including EACC as a second plaintiff. This counterclaim was submitted in February 2024, with both EACC and Kenya Railways seeking a mesne profit of Sh250 million from Ng'ang'a, claiming his utilisation of the land for 25 years. The term “mesne profits” means “intermediate profits  or  damages for trespass.