The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has said that the land that the Deputy President William Ruto’s hotel, Weston Ltd is sitting on along Lang’ata road was grabbed after they colluded with two firms. In its court papers, Weston has maintained that it legally bought the land from Priority Ltd and Monene Investment Ltd.
But KCAA is claiming that inconsistencies in the documents produced by Weston, failure to produce any valid sale agreement, transfer instruments, and allegedly ignoring the Ndung’u report’s red flag on grabbed public land shows that it played a part in grabbing the land.
While poking holes in Weston’s papers, KCAA maintains that Weston is not claims an innocent buyer because there is no consent from the Commissioner of Lands approving the sale and no stamp duty was paid to seal the purchase process.
“Questionable circumstances show that the second respondent (Weston) was actually a party to fraud perpetrated by the third and fourth respondent (Priority and Monene) …. This court cannot defer to individual claims by land grabbers where it is proved that the title was issued to grab a public land, in this case, public land entrusted to Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) for the public to ensure safety in air navigation and incidental purposes,” the aviation authority told Lands Court in Nairobi.
KCAA claims that two development plans submitted by Weston are contradicting each other but the hotel argues that the two plans were issued on the same day, October 17, 1997 but they are different parcels of land.
KCAA also claims that the ownership record is deliberately scrambled to conceal the fraud because Priority was still applying for permit approvals in April 2008, after the same land was registered in Weston’s name in 2007.
The land, LR No 209/14372, was registered under Weston on June 13, 2007.KCAA legal team led by Otiende Amolo and Stephen Ligunya argue that Priority could not have continued to deal with the same property after its legal interest in the land had ceased.
“The second respondent was working with the third and fourth respondents in a scheme to construct on grabbed public land, perpetuating a fraud and it never bothered to carry out a proper search to ascertain that the title to the land was legal” they argued.
Weston while responding to the case attached a payment receipt as proof that it paid survey fees for the contested piece of land but KCAA claims that the receipt indicates that the paid amount was for an unsurveyed plot which is different from the contested land that Weston sits on.
KCAA says its land had been previously surveyed and had a reference number and they question how Priority and Monene got a survey document (a deed plan) for the land more than a year before they paid for the survey.
The aviation authority said the receipts in Weston’s affidavit show that it paid for the survey on April 30, 2002, while a deed plan number 234961 in favour of Priority and Monene is dated April 12, 2001.
In this latest twist to the case, KCAA is accusing Priority and Monene of illegally acquiring an allotment for 0.7 hectares of the land, but in their final survey document, the piece mysteriously increased to 0.7733Ha.
In october 2014, Weston secured a Sh350 million using the contested land and the bank also loaned the hotel $1.5 million (Sh161 million at current exchange rates). On July 8, 2015 the hotel went for another Sh700 million and used the same land as security.
“The charge in favour of the interested party (KCB) cannot be upheld as defence as the petitioner’s (KCAA) action because the second respondent (Weston) had no title to charge in the first place. The chargee will not be left without a remedy because it will be entitled to sue chargor, the second respondent for appropriate relief,” KCAA argues.
Weston insists it was an innocent buyer of value as it claims it bought the land at Sh10 million after carrying out due diligence to ascertain that there was a valid title document.