The Ministry of Lands is entangled in yet another mucky land saga of two people who are holding title deeds for a prime property in Westlands.
In a case which puts the integrity of the land registration system into question, the Lands Court in Nairobi will determine who between a city resident and a company associated with businessman Jimmy Wanjigi legitimately acquired the Sh400 million piece of land in Westlands.
The court battle has dragged Attorney General Kihara Kariuki into the saga. The court is faced with a tale of two title deeds for the same property and both parties claim ownership documents were issued by the Lands ministry.
At the heart of the case is a company called Horizon Hills Limited and the Ministry of Lands officials.
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On one hand, Cissy Kalunde Musembi says she bought the 0.818-acre piece located at the intersection of General Mathenge and Peponi roads and has a legitimate title.
Musembi claims she bought the land at Sh220 million from Horizon and it was transferred to her some time in 2018.
On the other hand, Aureum Limited, which is allegedly owned by Wanjigi, says her claim to the land was untenable as it secured the same in 2010 by acquiring shares in the same company that allegedly sold the plot to Musembi.
“Upon noticing existence of parallel titles over the property by the first defendant (Aureum), the plaintiff (Musembi) filed the suit to determine which title was valid and which needs to be revoked, in accordance with the court’s jurisdiction,” argues Musembi.
Prisca Wambua, a lawyer who allegedly transacted the deal, claimed a friend who works as an ICT consultant introduced her to two men — Henry Njoroge Njenga and David Njenga Samson Kuria —who are Horizon directors.
They allegedly informed her that they were selling a parcel of land, LR No 1870/II/200 IR 65800 and upon carrying out due diligence and Musembi paying the agreed purchase price, Horizon directors sold off the land to her.
The lawyer says she then learnt that Aureum had lodged a complaint with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) at Parklands Police Station and claimed ownership of the same property.
Aureum, through its lawyers Otieno Ogola and Company Advocates, claims upon buying the property, it has never disposed of its interest.
According to the firm, Musembi’s title must have been acquired illegally as the men who allegedly sold the contested land to her are allegedly not Horizon directors.
“The first defendant avers that the said persons have never been directors of a company known as Horizon Hills Limited and they had no authority to dispose of assets and property belonging to the company, including the subject property,” the firm replied.
The first defendant states that if the plaintiff paid any such monies, then the same was paid to fraudsters and not the representatives of Horizon Hills Limited, the duly registered owner of the subject property.
Musembi claims Horizon could not have transferred shares and properties to Aureum in 2004 as the firm was registered on November 24, 2006.
She claims transfer documents submitted by the company to assert ownership are fake, as revenue stamps from the Ministry of Lands are dated December 5, 2004, which was a Sunday.