The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has lost prime property worth millions of shillings to tycoon Ashok Doshi due to the failure to prosecute a case for 17 years.
KPA’s case against Supernova Properties Ltd was thrown out by the Environment and Land Court in Mombasa on the ground of lack of evidence.
Justice Sila Munyao said that KPA failed to serve the company, Commissioner of Lands and the Chief Land Registrar, also enjoined in the case. Moreover, they were unable to respond in time.
“I must come to the conclusion that summons to enter appearance have never been served upon Supernova Properties Ltd. To call upon the company to defend a suit which has been idle in court for more than 15 years would be an injustice, it is hereby struck out,” said the judge.
The Judge questioned why there were no records of any movement in regard to the case between the year 2005 to 2017. Recommending for the dismissal of the case.
The Judge’s decision is a big loss for KPA, as it will loses the property which already has an office block building constructed on it.
The courts records show that KPA sued the company back in 2005. The land under registration Mombasa/Block XLVII/113 is one of the many plots which the parastatal is trying to recover from the hands of private developers is among several plots in Mombasa that KPA wants to recover from private developers.
The firm through its advocate Willis Oluga said that it had only learnt about the case through an advertisement in local dailies in 2019.
“It is now 14 years since this suit was filed, the validity of summons to enter appearance expired 13 years ago,” said Oluga, adding that KPA showed no interest to prosecute the case for over 12 years.
KPA also noted that it had lost all documents and evidence it required to defend itself and explain how it acquired the title.
“For instance, the original allottee of the land, Jackson Suter, who sold the firm the land cannot be traced. Should the firm be called to file defence 16 years after the case was filed, it will face challenges defending itself properly due to attrition of evidence attributed to the lapse of time since the case was filed,” said the advocate.
KPA through its legal officer Stephen Kyandih said that firm was aware of the case noting that it (KPA) has always been keen and interested in prosecuting the case.
The land was registered in the name of the General Manager, East African Railways and Harbours Corporation, for and on its behalf
In 1978, the corporation was disbanded and KPA was established as the successor in title and thus it took over the disputed property.