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Police arrest ex-MP over land dispute

By Jacinta Mutura | January 14th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

A court orderly escorts former Laikipia East MP Anthony Mutahi (right) to the Nyeri Law Courts cells after he was fined Sh500,000 or five months in jail for contempt, yesterday. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Former Laikipia East MP Anthony Mutahi was arrested shortly after paying Sh500,000 fine for contempt.

Mutahi was whisked away from the Nyeri Law Courts by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters over alleged land fraud.

A senior DCI officer said the MP was booked at Nyeri Central Police Station and later ferried to Nairobi. Mutahi is expected to be arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts today.

Environment and Lands Court judge Mary Oundo ruled that the former legislator interfered with a land suit between him and Fiona Ansett, a British settler, in Nanyuki.

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In an application filed under certificate of urgency at the court, Ms Ansett sought, among other orders, to have the former legislator committed to civil jail for developing the 19.5-acre land situated opposite the British Army Training Unit in Kenya Nyati Barracks in Nanyuki.

Oundo ruled that Mutahi disobeyed court orders issued in November 2017 by Justice Lucy Waithaka restraining him (MP) or his agents, assigned servants, employees, and/or representatives, from charging, selling, alienating, and or disposing of the 19.5 acres of the land registration number LR No 10422/13 pending hearing and determination of the case.

“The accused was found guilty of developing the land despite the court order. He is hereby fined Sh500,000 or face five-month jail term,” ruled Oundo.

Trespassing

Ansett moved to court after Mutahi started building a mansion on the land, despite a court order restraining him or his family from interfering with it until the case on the ownership of the land is determined.

But he told the court that the construction on the land was done before the suit, a claim Justice Oundo dismissed.

The former MP claims to have bought the land in 2009 at a cost of Sh7 million.

Through lawyer Margaret Shava, Ansett complained that Mutahi was developing the land and his workers were trespassing and threatening her family after the death of her husband Stuart Richard Cunningham in December 2019.

The case has been in court for almost ten years after Cunningham challenged the former MP’s claim to the land.

In court documents, Cunningham states that he bought the 19.5-acre land from Jim Trench and signed a sale agreement on June 29, 1994.

Mutahi was enjoined as a substantive respondent in the suit in 2016 after the complainant learnt that the land had been sold to him.

In the suit, Cunningham had initially sued Trench’s wife Livia Trench who he said was not willing to take up the matter of issuing him with a title deed after the death of her husband (original vendor) in 2000.

At some point, Livia wrote to Cunningham through her lawyers George Oraro and Dr David Silverstein instructing him to vacate the property so as to enable a new purchaser to take possession after aborted purchase of the land.

Livia succumbed to cardiac arrest in June 2010 and Grant of Probate of her estate was issued to George Oraro and Dr David Silverstein to execute her will. The two subsequently replaced her in the suit.


Laikipia East MP Anthony Mutahi Land Dispute
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