You can reverse land fraud and recover your cash
By - Jan 1st 1970
I am among the several victims of land fraud that have now formed regular news items in both the print and broadcast media. However, I am still convinced that I know my rights and contemplating moving to court to recover my hard-earned money. Is it possible for a court of law to reverse a fraudulent land transaction for the benefit of an innocent buyer?
Yes, it is possible to move to court and sue a fraudulent property seller in a bid to recover your hard-earned money for an investment turned sour.
There is a recent case in which the Environment and Land Court nullified a fraudulent sale of a two-acre land by Mwalimu Farm Investment Company Limited.
Justice Kemei ruled that the claimant, Samuel Muchai, had proved that he was the rightful owner of the Ruiru/Ruiru East Block 3/370 disputed land.
The court analysed all the documents, payment receipts for the land, survey fees, stamp duty and ballot card before delivering its judgement in favour of the buyer.
Justice Kemei ruled that the claimant, Samuel Muchai, had proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was the rightful owner of the disputed land.
The facts presented by Muchai were that he was a teacher and a member of Mwalimu Farm Investment Company which came up with a scheme that would enable its members to buy property known as Ruiru/Ruiru East Block 3 in 1983. He was allocated a two-acre land which cost Sh900 per acre and was asked to wait for the processing of the title deed. Unfortunately, the title deed was fraudulently released to Bernard Karema – the second defendant in the case who later sold the land to Edwin Githiaga – the third defendant.
The Land Registrar in Thika claimed that the documents showing the transfer of property from the government to Muchai and later to Githiaga were missing from the land registry in Ruiru and Thika. The court held that Githiaga failed to produce documents proving how he acquired the Ruiru land.
Currently, a section of prospective investors in real estate are hoping that a proposed draft Bill seeking to protect land buyers from fraudsters sees the light of day.
According to the Bill sponsored by Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gachoki, land-selling companies will be required to deposit Sh500 million which will be similar to a depositor’s protection fund to protect customers against the loss of all their deposits following the collapse of a bank.
The proposed legislation further seeks to regulate registration and licensing of land-buying and selling companies to protect the interests of purchasers.
The Bill also seeks to set up a regulator with whom all land-buying companies will register for purposes of easy tracking. The regulator will impose a fine of Sh5 million on non-compliant companies.
The principal object of the Bill is to regulate the registration and licensing of land-buying companies and to protect the interests of people who purchase land from land-buying companies.
— Harold Ayodo is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
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