Gachagua in fight for Sh1.5b plot
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua yesterday continued to fight for a Sh1.5 billion property near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) which he is claiming ownership.
Justice Ogutu Mboya of the Environment and Lands Court extended orders stopping transfer of the said property until October 13 when the matter will be heard.
Gachagua (below), through his company Wamunyoro Investments, sued former director of Physical Planning John Michael Ohas and his company Columbus Two Thousand Ltd for allegedly obtaining a title deed in December 2019 illegally and registering it.
Ohas had previously sued the Gachagua, seeking revocation of the title deed allegedly for being fraudulent, but later withdrew the case. Yesterday, Gachagua’s lawyer Philip Nyachoti said he could read mischief on the part of Ohas when the suit was withdrawn.
“They obtained orders against my client and went and used the orders to mess up with the records of the land office. They mischievously withdrew the suit,” Nyachoti said.
Justice Mboya adjourned the matter to allow two lawyers, who both claimed to represent the former civil servant, to sort out the issue of representation. The two counsels had claimed to have both been instructed by Ohas to represent him.
“The application will be heard on October 13 , counsel for the first and second defendant to sort out the issue of representation ... The Supreme Court dealt with this issue” during the IEBC case,” he said.
In court documents, Gachagua claims that he purchased the land for Sh24 million from Peter Nduati and Pauline Muringe, who owned it through Karandi Farm Ltd. The land is currently charged at Equity Bank over a loan of Sh200 million.
He explained that he carried out due diligence and was able to confirm that the previous owners’ certificate of title was authentic and indeed genuine after they approached him with the intention of selling it.
“Wamunyoro has always been the legal owner of the disputed property but Ohas and his company Columbus Two Thousand in December 2019 deliberately tampered with the records at the lands office such that any official search on the property currently indicates that Columbus is the registered owner,” he claimed in court documents.
Gachagua claimed that Ohas, a former director of physical planning in the Ministry of Lands, had lodged a formal complaint with the National Land Commission (NLC) against his company.
According to the VP, NLC upheld the title in favour of his company and gazetted it in the Kenya Gazette on 17th July 2017.
“The NLC’s decision was later affirmed by the High Court in November 2020 but Ohas filed another case but withdrew it in June 2022,” argued Gachagua in court documents.
Wamunyoro argues that Columbus has never taken any steps to review or appeal the said decision which is still in full force and therefore binding upon Ohas and his company.
Gachagua alleged that Ohas had claimed to have been allotted the land on February 3, 1994 and soon thereafter, the property was invaded by thousands of squatters who made it impossible for him to utilize the property.
18 years later, the government evicted the squatters. When interest to develop the property arose, he discovered it had been fenced off by someone claiming ownership.