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New twist in land dispute as man claiming ownership is arraigned

RIFT VALLEY
By Julius Chepkwony | June 20th 2021

The tussle for the land started in 2001. [Courtesy]

The ownership case of a 542-acre piece of land in Bahati, Nakuru County took a new twist on Friday after a man claiming ownership was arraigned in court.

Francis Njuguna Kamau was charged in a Nakuru court alongside Peter Gachoka Kuria, Hebert Musumba Mumala and Gerald Mwaniki, after he claimed the land was transferred to him from the estate of the late Njuguna Mwaura Mbogo.

The four are facing 10 charges after their arrest in Nairobi, following summons by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Kamau is charged that between September 7, 2017 and May 28, 2018, at Nakuru Lands offices, allegedly conspired to defraud Joseph Gaitho of his 13 parcels of land.

He also allegedly transferred the parcels of land, which were part of one Solai/Ndugiri Block 9/1 measuring 542 acres, to various individuals without Gaitho’s consent.

Gachoka, Mumala and Mwaniki faced charges including obtaining registration of land by false pretense, forcible entry, and detaining of the said parcels of land.

The four denied all the charges before Principal Magistrate Yvonne Khatambi and were released on a Sh500,000 bond each, with a surety of a similar amount, or an alternative cash bail of Sh200,000 each.

Earlier this month, Kamau together with Florence Wanjiru and James Kimwaki filed a civil suit against 78-year-old Shadrack Cherogony seeking to bar him from burying his son, Benson Kiptoo, on the land.

Conveniently forgotten

Through his lawyer Kipkoech Ng’etich, Cherogony has since filed a reply to the suit stating that his son died of Covid-19 and had to be buried without delay. He was buried on June 5.

Cherogony further said that in 2018, the late Kiptoo had filed a suit at the Environment and Land Court in Nakuru against Kamau.

According to him, the land court was to deliver a ruling on the suit but declined on the revelation that there was a pending appeal in Nairobi over the ownership of the land, which Kamau had ‘conveniently forgotten’ to notify the court about.

The tussle for the land started in 2001 when Mbogo started a suit against EK Banks, seeking to be declared owner of the land, contending that he had been in possession of the property since 1959.

It was alleged that the summons was served upon EK Banks but he failed to enter an appearance. In February 2003, the court delivered an ex-parte judgment in favour of Mbogo, and EK Banks lodged an appeal.

While the application on the ex-parte judgment was pending, Mbogo disappeared in July 2006 and was later found dead.

EK Banks then moved back to court seeking to have Mbogo substituted by Kamau and Nyambura. 

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