The High Court has dismissed a suit filed by a city businessman laying claim to a three acre public utility land valued at Sh300million along Kiambu Road.
Justice Samson Okong’o ruled the parcel belonged to the defunct Nairobi City Council and that the title deed held city businessman John Peter Kamau Ruhangi over the “suit property is doubtful.”
The court heard that State House events provider Wanderjoy World Party Limited was awarded a Temporary Occupation License (TOL) of the land block 27/326 by the defunct Nairobi City County in 2011 for a leasehold of 25 years.
“It is not sufficient for registered proprietor to produce an instrument of title as proof of ownership. He must go beyond and prove the legality of how he acquired the title. The Plaintiff has failed completely to establish that he acquired the suit property lawfully.” The judge ruled.
Ruhangi and two others George Jonathan Maara and David Mburu Githere had named Isaac Maina Wandere, proprietor of WanderJoy and the Nairobi County government as defendants in the case he filed on July 26, last year.
Nairobi County, through its lawyer Titus Koceyo maintained that it was the legal owner of the three-acre parcel of land and that the title held by Ruhangi is a forgery.
“Even if the court was to consider the balance of convenience, I am of the view that the same would tilt in favour of maintaining the current status quo pending the hearing of the suit. In the final analysis and for the foregoing reasons, I find no merit in the Notice of Motion dated 26th July, 2016. The application is dismissed with costs to the Defendants.” The ruling read in part.
The ruling provided that Ruhangi did not prove its legality by explaining the steps he followed to acquire it.
Through the court submissions, it was proved that through a resolution by General Purpose Committee meeting held on April 14, 2011 by the defunct Nairobi City Council, Wanderjoy was issued with a lease on LR No. 27/326.
Wanderjoy rehabilitated the said land from being a swamp in a period of four years.
However, the lease had a four point conditions indicating that the lease of 25 years takes effect from January 1, 2008; the garden to be used for recreational purposes, wedding, and conferences.
He was also required to pay sh38000 annual rent paid consistently since 2008 according to records and to only construct car sheds for the purposes of shielding vehicles from harsh weather conditions using only approvable materials.
Wanderjoy proprietor Maina Wandere owns adjacent two and a half acres where his damaged installation partially occupies.
The land in question is not developed and is only used as a parking lot.
A forensic report by the Land Fraud Unit at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) shows Ruhangi obtained Sh65million in 2011 from Paramount Bank Westland Branch using the same title deed declared by the court as doubtful.
The title deed was used as security to a defaulted bank loan.
Ruhangi is also accused of faking Kenya Revenue Authority Stamp Duty Declaration, assessment and pay-in-slip serial number 1095615.
After defaulting to pay, Paramount Bank unsuccessfully tried to auction the public property through Integra Auctioneering (K) Ltd upon default to repay the loan.
The bank, however, did not detect the glaring discrepancies of a forged title of public land LR No27/326 even after conducting due diligence of the documentation presented of a public land as loan security.
“John Peter Kamau Ruhangi had caused the irregular transfer of the property to himself using the questioned deed of conveyance dated July 8, 2011.” The report reads in part.
According to the probe report, the bank did not report the matter, rather, an individual claimant of the same public land, George Jonathan Maara reported the matter to CID in 2013 saying Ruhangi forged his signature and that of his counterpart David Mburu Githere to acquire the loan.
Investigations revealed that the trio, Ruhangi, Maara and Githere claimed joint ownership of the said land which is a public utility parcel.
The CID report further says Ruhangi faked an affidavit purportedly from a lawyer to facilitate the transaction.