Former MP loses legal fight for land to women’s group
By Simon Oyeng’ and Bernard Lusigi | December 18th 2020
The High Court in Kakamega has restored prime land acquired by former Lurambi MP Atanas Manyala Keya to the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO).
The property referred to in court documents as parcel LR Kakamega Municipality/Block 1/557 has been at the centre of a sale and ownership legal battle between MYWO and the former lawmaker.
The MYWO board of trustees had filed a lawsuit in 2015 against Keya, Florence Achisa, Abigael Makotsi, Elizabeth Sipeta and Martha Lumbasi.
This was after Achisa, Makotsi, Sipeta and Lumbasi sold the plot to Keya on September 7, 2013, for Sh7.3 million.
Environment and Land Court Judge Nelly Matheka, in her ruling on Wednesday, declared that Keya acquired the property in an illegal and fraudulent manner.
Justice Matheka found that on the material dates the land was sold to Keya, the defendants had no authority or capacity to enter into any sale agreement.
While quashing orders that granted ownership of the land to the former MP, the court ruled that the four defendants had overstepped their mandate when they sold the land.
Matheka said at the time of sale, the trustees who were legally mandated to authorise disposal of the property were Julia Ojiambo, Phoebe Asiyo, Joseph Barage, Monica Wamaitha, Jane Mumbi and Joan Mujomba.
“I find that the purported sale was illegal and fraudulent and therefore null and void. The interested party ought to have exercised due diligence.
“It is clear therefore that it is only the trustees who had authority to dispose off immovable property belonging to the plaintiff, and therefore I grant the order of cancellation of the 5th defendant (Keya) as the registered proprietor of the suit property,” read part of Matheka’s ruling.
She added: “Therefore this court restitutes the property herein to the MYWO.”
The particulars of the case were that on September 7, 2013, the first four defendants purported to be MYWO board members and went ahead to sell the disputed parcel of land to Keya.
But the women’s organisation argued that the transaction was done without the consent of its registered trustees and the National Executive Council.
Additionally, the MYWO told the court that in the more than seven years Keya had been exercising his rights as the registered proprietor of the land, its members had been deprived of the use and enjoyment of the land and premises thereby reducing them to tenants.
The court also heard that the MYWO had been threatened with eviction by the former MP.
In his defence, Keya said he had kept to the terms of the sale agreement when he bought the parcel of land.
He argued that the issue of application of the proceeds of the sale was an internal affair between the MYWO board of trustees and his co-defendants.
The four defendants said at the time of sale, they were elected officials of MYWO serving in various positions between 2006 to July, 2014, when they were voted out.
They told the court that the decision to sell the property was prompted by an alleged repossession threat from the Kakamega County Government in September 2013 over accumulated land rates and rents totalling Sh23,558,793.
They argued that they had acted in the best interest of the organisation at the time, and only after the board of trustees had passed a resolution on the matter.
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