Church loses claim over 13-acre land to school after court learnt the land was auctioned

A church in Kakamega has lost a 13.5-acre land it claimed had been grabbed by a school.

This is after the High Court dismissed a case by Full Gospel Churches of Kenya (FGCK) seeking to recover the land.

Justice Nelly Matheka noted the land was auctioned after FGCK failed to pay the initial owner the full amount.

Bishop Joseph Samoei, Mr Elisha Oyugi and Mr Fredrick Mumia, the registered trustees of the church, had sued the Board of Governors at Khwisero Girls’ High School in a bid to recover the land.

The plaintiffs told court they have been the registered proprietors of the land since October 2, 1982, when they bought the property from one Atsala Nambwenya.

They said the school was the brainchild of FGCK and that they constructed it using their own resources.

The church said it only transferred the day-to-day running of the school to the government but remained holders of the title to the land.

They claimed that on or about December 8, 2008, the school’s Board of Governors fraudulently acquired the title of the suit property in collusion with Atsala and Sadique Auctioneer Enterprises, named in the case as second and third respondents.

FGCK trustees sought to have registration of the title in the name of the school canceled and the property reverted to the church.

They further wanted the court to issue a permanent injunction barring the defendants from interfering or encroaching the suit property.

But the school's board denied colluding to acquire the land fraudulently.

The officials told court that in 2001, Atsala who had sold the land to the church trustees, filed a petition with the lands tribunal after they failed to pay him the full amount. FGCK was ordered to pay Atsala Sh300,000.

After the plaintiffs failed to pay the money, Atsala approached Sadique Enterprises to auction the property so he could recover the money.

Ruth Mwanzi, the school's principal, told the court they acquired the land through an auction. The full amount was paid and a title deed issued to the school.

She said the school, started by FGCK seven years before the auction, was now a county institution with over 700 students. She had asked the court to dismiss the suit with costs.

Justice Matheka said the law stipulates that the Certificate of Title is proof of ownership except it is established the same was acquired fraudulently or through misrepresentation of facts.

“It is a finding of fact that the first defendant (BoG) is the registered proprietor of the suit land. The defendants testified how one, Atsala filed a case at the tribunal and the plaintiff ordered to pay Sh300,000. The plaintiff never appealed the decree,” said Justice Matheka.