BY SAM ALFAN.
The High Court has blocked the valuation, sub-division, sale and transfer of the controversial land on which Weston Hotel in Nairobi stands.
The court stopped any plans on the controversial parcel, pending the outcome of the ownership dispute lodged by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
Environment and Land Court Judge Bernard Eboso imposed the sanctions on National Land Commission (NLC), Weston Hotel Ltd, Priority Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd following and urgent application by the State agency.
The Judge stopped the implementation of the decision made by the NLC on January 25 allowing the owners of the hotel to pay compensation to the agency at the market value to enable it to purchase alternative land.
The disputed public land had been acquired by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) in the early 1990s for the construction of its headquarters.
Justice Eboso directed lawyer Stephen Biko Ligunya to serve the three firms with court papers to facilitate the hearing of the matter on July 4.
In court papers, KACC argued that Priority Ltd and Monene Investments sold the land to Weston Hotel Ltd in June 2007 at the deliberately undervalued price of Sh10milion. The two firms, the documents state, then embarked on rapid construction without obtaining mandatory development approvals from relevant State regulatory agencies.
“They procured registration as owners of the land through illegality, fraud and corruption and forcibly evicted the DCA and its employees. They forcibly removed the DCA’s costly air navigation equipment and spares and dumped them at sites in Industrial Area and Athi River, causing their degradation from harsh exposure to the elements,” the agency protested in its petition lodged by Rachier and Amollo Advocates.
The owners of Weston Hotel Ltd had deliberately failed to comply with KCAA’s orders to stop construction, despite clear indications that the development along Langata Road posed a threat to air navigation at the adjacent Wilson Airport, the agency said.
“On January 25, the NLC have its determination recognizing and emphasizing that KCAA’s entitlement to and ownership of the land remained unchallenged. The NLC’s decision extensively and justifiably impugned the illegality, irregular and fraud by the three companies, explicitly stating that Priority Ltd and Monene Investments irregularly procured registration of the land,” KACC pointed out.
“However, instead of ordering restitution of the land to KCAA and revocation of the registered titles due to illegal acquisition, the NLC purported to give effect to the same unlawfully acquired title,” the agency protested.