Will Supreme Court review its own ruling on Too land contest?

Two groups battling over 25,000 acres of land in Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County, have filed submissions, setting the stage for another round of contests at the Supreme Court.

Squatters claiming ownership of the multibillion-shilling property occupied by the family of the late politician Mark Too and hundreds of land buyers lost the battle at the apex court on December 15, 2023.

On December 20, the Sirikwa Squatters group filed an application seeking a review of the orders.

According to documents filed ahead of a mention on January 31, Mark Too's family, Lonrho Agribusiness Ltd (a company associated with the late former Member of Parliament) and others want the squatters’ application for review dismissed.

In the defence of the December 15 ruling, the appellants have stated in their submissions that the Supreme Court had powers to take new evidence which was not previously available.

“It, therefore, follows that this honourable court, in exercising its original jurisdiction, was within its powers to the said rule to re-appraise the evidence on record and draw any inference of facts in determining the consolidated petitions which included, but is not limited to, the finding on fraud against parties herein,” the appellants said in the submission.

Sirikwa Squatters had stated in their application for review that the Supreme Court had delved into the contestation of facts instead of focusing on the constitutionality of the appeal.

The Commissioner of Lands also wants the review dismissed, saying the squatters were re-litigating the case after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Mark Too’s family and other occupants of the property.

Sirikwa Squatters, in their application, vehemently opposed the appellant’s argument that it was appealing the Supreme Court judgement.

The squatters, in their submission, maintained that the Supreme Court had powers to review its judgments.

According to the applicants, the Supreme Court judgement that found the squatters had no legitimate claim on the property was obtained by what they term in their submissions as misrepresentation of facts.

They had won the battle at the High Court in 2017 and at the Court of Appeal in 2022, but filed an appeal at the Supreme Court. The judgements and orders of the High Court and Court of Appeal were set aside in their entirety by the Supreme Court ruling.

“Gathered all together, the judgement of December 15, 2023, is for review with costs, and we pray that the application dated December 20, 2023, be allowed with costs,” the squatters’ prayers read in part.

The squatters' group said it was not re-litigating the case and went ahead to present several precedents.

"The long and short is that the entire judgement of December 15 is a nullity, null and void. This Court ought to preserve its ability to do justice,” the squatters told the Supreme Court.

Petitioners, Lonrho Agribusiness and David Korir said the squatters have not demonstrated grounds that meet the threshold for review at the apex court.

“The applicant has failed to demonstrate the circumstances of deceit and misrepresentation of facts which resulted in the judgement delivered on December 15,” the appellants stated.

The Commissioner of Lands and Registrar of Lands, Uasin Gishu County termed the squatters’ notice of motion as an abuse of court process.

“The notice of motion does not disclose any exceptional circumstances that warrant the court’s intervention through review of its decision,” the duo told the Supreme Court.