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Developers Defy Court Orders and Invade State Research Land

The management of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) want action taken against some private developers for defying court orders that stopped them from further transacting business at Mtwapa field station until the dispute was determined.

KALRO Director General Dr. Eliud Kireger expressed concern that the developers in total disregard of the rule of law ignored the court directive and went ahead to put up structures within the institution before the matter which was still pending before the courts was dispensed.

Director General KALRO Eliud Kireger showing the CS Agriculture Peter Munya the maps of the Buchuma land whose some sections have been grabbed by individuals.

He said courts had on the 23rd of July last year issued orders barring Edison Sonje Taura, Faud Said and 2 others from trespassing in KALRO’s land but a visit revealed that the developers were busy at the site.

“The matter was before Environment and Land Court (ELC)  on 29/7/2020. The court directed that the case will be mentioned on 5/10/2020 to fix a ruling date on our notice of motion dated 22/7/2019. The interim orders issued on 23/7/2019 barring Edison Sonje Taura, Faud Said and 2 Others from trespassing KALRO’s land were extended” he said in a statement.

He said the Mtwapa land which  KALRO acquired way back in 1923 was used for industrial crops research, an insectary, library, and had a guest house for visiting scientists  but was invaded and illegally subdivided to private investors.

Mtwapa land parcel L.R No. Mainland North/III/1450 (original) measuring approximately 13.40 Ha. Initially extended to the ocean front where the developers claimed ownership after the then Commissioner of Lands subdivided this parcel of land into five plots

According to records the beach plots were reportedly subdivided to L.R. No MN/III/2944, L. R. MN/III/2945, L.R. MN/III/2946, L.R.  MN/III/2947 and L.R. MN/III/2948, but the EACC and the Land Registrar were notified and revoked the allotments on 26th November 2010.

However, one of parties Baharini Developments Ltd, holding title LR. MN/III/2947 and LR.MN/III/2948, filed a suit, Baharini Development Ltd Vs. KARI, case No. 580 of 2011.

In suit papers, the plaintiff is seeking court orders to affirm their ownership of the said Mtwapa beach plots and the developer has since obtained temporary injunctions barring any interference with the land until the matter is heard and determined. The matter is ongoing in court

Acting on behalf of KALRO, Messrs Ochieng’ Ochieng’ and Co. advocates moved to court on 23rd  November 2019 when the matter came up for hearing. However, the hearing did not proceed as the Environment and Land Court Judge C. Yano noted that directions had not been given to consolidate this matter with ELC Petition No. 20 of 2013 filed in court by Baharini Developments Limited

In 2019, KALRO filed a Petition No 29 of 2019: Kalro Vs Edison Sonje Taura, Faud Said and 2 others after more developers invaded the centre but case presented before the ELC court on 29/7/2020 saw the court directing that the case be mentioned on 5/10/2020 to fix a ruling date on notice of motion dated 22/7/2019.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya in August this year during a visit to Buchuma KALRO ranch in Taita Taveta County, directed for arrest and prosecution of land grabbers who have encroached land

The land had been set aside by the government for an export processing zone and the CS told those who had invaded the section of the land to vacate immediately and revert the land to the government.

“public land does not mean it’s nobody’s land.  It belongs to the people of Kenya and therefore if we have to privatise then we have to do it in the right way but not to individuals and that impunity must stop”, he said and directed the County Commissioner to immediately evict the person who has put up a house in the land.

“One person has already been evicted and we also want the other ones to be evicted and prosecuted for invading land that does not belong to them. It is criminal its against the law”, he insisted

The incident comes after the EACC Deputy CEO Michael Mubea  last year reaffirmed his commitment to revert all grabbed land back to KALRO after the anti-graft agency recovered more than 2,500 acres in Naivasha meant for research, valued at Ksh10 billion.

He had promised to pursue the remaining 26 land cases in court including 28 acres in Tigoni that was repossessed and ensure that the over 400 acres of KALRO land remained intact.

 

 By Wangari Ndirangu

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