How man dispossessed widow of her land and sold it to third parties

Rift Valley
By Julius Chepkwony | Jul 06, 2023

One of the houses on the 10-acre land in Ngata that had been grabbed from a widow and sold to third parties. The court has ordered those who irregularly bought the land, which belongs to Selina Chepkoech Selim, should vacate. [Julius Chepkwony, Standard]

Owners of palatial homes on a 10-acre piece of land in Ngata, Nakuru County, have three months to vacate.

This is after the Environment and Lands Court in Nakuru issued the order after finding that 11 people were conned into buying the land illegally acquired from a widow and subdivided into plots.

Justice Mwangi Njoroge told the other parties in the case who had acquired land that they were deceived, since the person who sold them the plots had nothing to sell to them out of LR Number Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733 and that they ought to seek an appropriate remedy against him and his collaborators in the mischief.

"Consequently, I find that all the defendants should be evicted from the suit land being LR Number Njoro/Ngata Block2/2733. The same position applies to the third parties," ruled the court.

People's tribulations

The 11 people's tribulations started on December 2013, when Selina Chepkoech Selim filed a suit at the Environment and Lands Court in Nakuru, claiming she had been dispossessed of her 10-acre land in Ngata, Nakuru County.

Chepkoech named 11 people as respondents in the case. The 11, she said, had trespassed and developed the property, which formed part of her late husband's (Kimutai Arap Selim) estate.

Chepkoech being a legal representative of the estate of Kimutai Selim, named Ezekiel Cheboi, Robert, Zephaniah Kurgat, Allan Oguta, Pius Okelo Odero, Sarah Masolo, Andrew, Hezron Magak Obuya, Samuel Osee, Richard Koskey, Kinaro Ndubi t/a Ekegoro Stationery Supplies, and three others as defendants in a case she filed in December 2013.

Kinaro was placed at the centre as he claimed to have acquired it from Chepkoech's late husband and sold it to third parties.

Without justification

Chepkoech, through lawyer Kipkoech Ng'etich, said Kinaro illegally and without justification encroached on the suit land and wrongfully sold for financial gain portions of that land, causing at least 14 individuals to encroach and erect structures thereon.

She wanted the court to issue an order permanently barring the families, their agents, and or servants from remaining and erecting structures and that they be ejected.

Daniel Kiplangat Mutai, in his testimony, said his father, who owned Njoro Ngata Block 2/2733 passed away in 2011 and did not allow Kinaro to sell Njoro Ngata Block 2/2733.

Chepkoech said she had been defrauded of her land.

Kinaro, in his response, said he knew all the other defendants in the suit, adding that he sold them portions of the suit land Njoro/Ngata/Block 2/2733. The defendants in the suit, he said, were among 50 other persons.

Lawyer Kipkoech Ngetich who represented Ms Selina Chepkoech Selim in the case where her land was snatched and sold to third parties. [Julius Chepkwony, Standard]

He denied claims he trespassed the land and maintained Chepkoech's husband sold him the suit land. He said his initial plan was to purchase two acres for Sh700, 000 an acre, but Kimutai wanted to sell the entire 83 acres.

Kinaro said he paid for the two acres then Kimutai gave him ten acres to subdivide and obtain buyers.

He later subdivided the ten-acre portion into quarter-acre plots, including his two acres and sold the subdivisions to buyers, he then transferred the plots to the buyers, and it instantly became an attractive business.

Kinaro said he started a business, Ekegoro Properties, adding that for the initial 10 acres, there was an agreement. They made another agreement for ten more acres at Sh750, 000 per acre, which sold quickly after subdivision into quarters.

He said before the subdivision of the second lot of ten acres, Kimutai added another ten acres to make it 20 acres, and he subdivided into 20 acres and sold them.

Time of disappearing

Kinaro said, Kimutai then sold a Mr Kwega some five acres, but Mr Kwega then disappeared. Kwega, at the time of disappearing, had subdivided and sold eighth and quarter-acre plots and could not be traced.

He said Kimutai directed the persons who bought Kwega's land to him, and he subdivided them under the docket of the 20 acres and sold them.

He revealed that he got more land from Kimutai subdivided and sold. He said he sent some of the money from the sale of the land to Kimutai's children as they claimed they had a pressing debt.

He said he would visit the deceased, and he was taken as a son in the family as Chepkoech used to welcome him very well.

He claimed they had a good relationship, and he did not foresee that there would be a problem later. He said he did everything he did out of trust.

Any agreement

Upon cross-examination by Mr Kipkoech, Kinaro stated he does not have any agreement for plot No. 2273.

Masolo, a resident of Kiamunyi and a teacher, said she knows those who sold her the land and added she did not conduct a search.

Koskey, a manager with a local insurance company, maintained that he purchased the land legally. He revealed he was aware of the cost Sh550, 000.

Lawyer Kipkoech, on behalf of Chekoech, submitted that even if the defendants have developed the suit property, they are trespassers for lack of sale agreement and consent.

The judge noted that from the evidence before the court, Kimutai appears to have sold various parcels of land to different people between 2006 and 2010 and received money for the sales, including from the sales to Kinaro.

One of the plots, part of the land belonging to Ms Selina Chepkoech Selim. [Julius Chepkwony, Standard]

The court, however, noted Chepkoech denied her husband ever sold the disputed land (LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733).

The judge said the late Kimutai appears to have sold various parcels of land to different people between 2006 and 2010 and received money for the sales, including from the sales to Kinaro.

"It is however denied by the plaintiff that he ever sold LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733 and indeed none of the agreements bear that LR Numbe," read part of the judgment.

The judge said LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733 is a sister to LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2736, having emanated from the same subdivision scheme. The court noted the approach Kinaro took with regard to the alleged transactions over the two properties differ.

Undated application

Kinaro, according to the court, produced an undated application for consent to transfer LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2736 to him but none for LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733 and a Land Control Board consent dated July 12, 2012, citing an application by the deceased allegedly dated July 10, 2012.

"Notably by these dates, Kimutai, who was supposed to be the applicant, was already deceased, having died on 21/11/2011, and it is a mystery as to how he could have made the LCB applications while deceased," ruled the court.

The judge said having traversed the pleadings and the evidence in the case, he found no evidence that the deceased ever entered into any agreement with Kinaro over the sale of LR NO Njoro/Ngata Block 2/2733.

"I have already earlier in this judgment examined and expressed great doubt as to the propriety of the application made for consent to subdivide and to transfer LR No Njoro/ Ngata Block 2/2736; those applications were purportedly made by the deceased yet the deceased was already dead by the dates of the application and of the consents," stated Justice Njoroge.

Sale agreement

The judge said it was clear there was no sale agreement between the deceased and Kinaro, adding that he rode on a wave of previous agreements to purport and hoodwink everyone that he had purchased the suit land from the deceased, while he had not.

"The 11th defendant not only trespassed upon the suit land but also caused other third parties to follow suit. A curious thing here, is that none of the other defendants established that they purchased their plots out of LR Number Njoro/Ngata Block2/2733," stated the judge.

The judge ordered Kinaro to pay Chepkoech Sh2 million as damages. He issued orders permanently barring the defendants from entering, remaining on, cultivating, or erecting structures in any other manner interfering with the suit land being Njoro/Ngata Block 12/2733.

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