Judge fights for possession of land in Nakuru
By Daniel Chege | October 29th 2020
Justice Silas Munyao tells court ownership documents were falsified at government office before parcel was transferred to stranger.
Environment and Lands Court Judge Silas Munyao has told a court that a land he leased on December 2, 2010 was fraudulently transferred to a stranger without his knowledge.
Justice Munyao has accused the Lands registry in Nakuru of fraudulently transferring the parcel - Nakuru Municipality Block 23/728 - measuring 0.048 hectares, to Sally Cherutich.
Testifying before Justice Dalmas Ohungo on Tuesday afternoon, Munyao said the land, which is in the name of Cherutich, was procured through fraud and misrepresentation at the registry.
He testified that the registry committed a crime by illegally issuing Cherutich with the title while being aware that he was the one possessing the certificate of lease to the suit land.
He testified that the registry not only fraudulently transferred his land to Cherutich, but tampered with the genuine records with respect to the suit land.
“The registry subsequently issued a forged lease and certificate in the name of Cherutich (defendant),” he said
He added that the registry caused the disappearance of the genuine file containing the records that will prove he is the legal owner and proprietor of the land.
“The actions of the registry to cause the disappearance of records of the suit land and fraudulent replacement of the records are gross misconduct and violation to my rights and that of my family,” Munyao said.
He wants the court to declare him the genuine owner and proprietor of the leasehold title and declare the title issued to Cherutich as fake.
According to Munyao, he acquired the land from Samuel Kiplangat on July 2, 2010 after which he obtained copies of the leasehold title from the Lands registry.
The judge said he paid Sh40,000 stamp duty and was to pay a rent of Sh1,400 annually for the land valued at Sh2.5 million.
He said he fenced the land and deposited stones and other construction materials that have been on the land for the past eight years.
However, he testified that on October 7, 2018 as he was inspecting the land, he found two people digging holes and attempting to put up posts to fence the land.
“I inquired and they told me that they had been sent by Peter Ondande who was on the verge of purchasing the land from Cherutich. I called him and he brought me photocopies of the title,” he said.
Munyao said he reported the matter and decided to file the case to claim the land
However, Cherutich denied the allegations through her lawyer Wambeyi Makomere.
In her statement of defence, she claims she is the legal owner and proprietor of the land and that she is entitled to utilise it as she pleases.
She denied claims the land was in Munyao's possession prior to 2018 when the case was filed, and challenged him to prove he owned the land prior to the filing of the suit.
Cherutich avers that she acquired the suit property legally and the same was registered in her name following the right procedure
She claims the Directorate of Criminal Investigations carried out a probe and concluded that the land ownership documents held by the judge do not reflect those in the Lands registry records.
"The plaintiff's rights are not violated as claimed since he is not the legal owner of the suit property," she says.
She wants the court to dismiss the suit and declare her the legal owner of the suit property. Cherutich also wants the court to order the judge to pay profits and rent accrued for allegedly illegally possessing the land since October 2018.
The hearing continues on February 9, 2021.
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