Two courts stop planned auction of university land

Great Lakes University of Kisumu. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Two courts have temporarily stopped the planned auctioning of Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK) land.

More than 2,000 students of GLUK whose academic future hanged in a balance can now breathe a sigh of relief.

The three parcels of land where the institution sits had been earmarked for auctioning to reclaim a Sh303.6 million loan that has been haunting the institution.

Yesterday, Justice Anthony Ombwayo of Environment and Lands Court and Lady Justice Jacqueline Kamau of the High Court blocked SBM Bank and Colinet Auctioneers from auctioning GLUK land.

In the first suit, Kenya Private Universities Workers Union (KPUWU) moved to the Environment and Lands Court on November 3 and filed a petition before Justice Ombwayo against Tropical Institute of Community Health Development Trust (TICH) – registered trustees of GLUK – and Colinet Auctioneers.

KPUWU sought to have the auction stopped citing irregularities in the planned auctioning of three parcels where the university sits.

The suit filed by KPUWU’s General Secretary Peter Owiti claimed that GLUK council members engaged the auctioneer company with a view of selling the parcels of land.

Registration number

The parcels in question were listed as land registration number 654/45 (IR123371), LR No. KISUMU MUNICIPALITY/BLOCK 12/201 and LR No. Kisumu MUNICIPALITY/BLOCK 12/143.

According to KPUWU, the properties were advertised in one of the dailies on October 22 and were due for auction by yesterday at noon.

Owiti held that KPUWU’s members would suffer irreparable loss, damage and prejudice if the auction was allowed.

In their notice of motion, they wanted the court to certify the matter urgent and sought interim order restraining the auctioneers and GLUK from interfering with the parcels.

KPUWU also sought for orders to restrain the council members, trustees or their associates from transacting or taking over the businesses of the university.

Additionally, they wanted an OCS of the nearest police station to ensure peace was maintained during the status quo period.

Owiti, in the notice of motion, claimed that they were dismayed when they learnt that TICH trust was scheduled for auctioning.

KPUWU claimed that there was no clear road map on how the auctioneer arrived at conducting an auction against the university.

It stated that proper procedure for exercising the sale had not been followed and that there was no disclosure of material facts.

Council members

KPUWU accused the current university’s council members of colluding with the auctioneering company to covertly and maliciously dispose of the suit properties without following proper procedures.

It termed the planned auction as premature, illegal, misconceived, null and void, adding that it was irregular.

TICH, in a separate suit, wanted the court to issue a temporary injunction which would stop the bank from selling the suit parcels, certify the matter as urgent, and restrain the bank from claiming and interfering with its ownership of the suit properties.

The suit had been filed a suit against SBM bank before Lady Justice Kamau.

Justice Ombwayo issued an order that the status quo of the parcels be maintained and not be interfered with in terms of advertisement for sale.

On the other hand, Lady Justice Kamau issued an injunction stopping the bank from claiming, disposing, selling or interfering with TICH’s ownership of the suit parcels.

Ombwayo further ordered that TICH’s case against SBM Bank be heard on December 1.