An Environment and Lands Court in Murang’a Friday dismissed an application by Delmonte Company Ltd to be enjoined in a case seeking to stop the renewal process of its land lease.
On Friday, Justice Grace Kemei dismissed the application with cost to the fruit processing company saying it did not demonstrate how the suit before the court would interfere with the current land ownership status of the company.
Delmonte had applied to be enjoined in a case where two Murang’a residents were seeking orders to have the County Government of Murang’a and National Lands Commission to advertise the renewal of the land lease owned by Delmonte under Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
The land lease of 99 years to Delmonte is coming to an end by year 2022 and its renewal process had commenced.
The petition by James Mwangi and Ephantus Githae is seeking to halt the process of renewal of land lease to the company until public bidding is done.
In their petition, the plaintiffs named Murang’a County Government and National Land Commission as respondents.
Delmonte in its application argued that it was the registered owner of the land and has invested heavily on it.
The company further argued that the outcome of the petition may disrupt the ongoing land renewal process claiming it has heavily invested in the land.
In their earlier submissions, the two respondents held that Delmonte is not necessary or proper party in the suit.
The counsel representing Murang’a County government had argued that the interests of Delmonte were private and not of public benefit.
The counsel argued that the process of renewal of the lease lies on Murang’a county government and the National Land Commission (NLC) and requested the court to dismiss the application.
The court ruled that the company did not demonstrate reasonable facts to be enjoined in the case before the court.
“The applicant must prove that its presence is key in resolving the dispute and the final orders cannot be enforced without it,” said the Judge.
Kemei said Delmonte did not demonstrate the nature of reliefs it is seeking in the petition or how its legitimate interests over the subject leaseholds would be affected.
She explained that the ownership of the land was not challenged and what the petitioners were challenging is the process that the respondents were employing in the renewal of the leases.
“Further, the applicant has not demonstrated the prejudice that it stands to suffer if the application is disallowed,” remarked Justice Kemei.
By Bernard Munyao