AHMEDNASIR NOW WANTS ORENGO EXCLUDED FROM WESTON HOTEL DISPUTE, CLAIMS SENATOR WORKING ON BEHALF OF ODM LEADER RAILA ODINGA.

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Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi who wants Siaya Senator James Aggrey Bob Orengo out of Weston Hotel Land case.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi now wants Siaya Senator James Orengo stopped representing Kenya Civil Aviation Authority in a dispute involving the land on which Weston Hotel stands.

In an application filed in court, Ahmednassir argued that Orengo, who previously served as Lands minister during retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, should be disqualified from representing the State agency on the basis of conflict of interest.

In an urgent application filed before the Environmental and Land Court, Ahmednassir further said the Siaya Senator has no instructions to act on behalf of KCAA.

He said Orengo’s role in this Weston Hotel matter is purely political mischief making , solely intended to muddle the issues in contest for a temporal political nuisance.

Ahmednasir further told the court that , Orengo has come into the matter to gain political capital for his principal in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party with a view to scandalise and vex Weston Hotel.

He added that the veteran lawyer was not in the panel of advocates appointed to represent the agency. Ahmednassir further said Orengo, in his capacity as the Leader of Minority in the Senate, is a State officer prohibited from undertaking any other gainful employment.

“A leader of the Senate acting or prosecuting cases before the Judiciary is a clear breach of separation of powers and a threat to the independence of Judiciary and his presence in this case violates the code of conduct that regulates behavior of State officers,” Ahmednassir said.

Last week, one of the firms involved in the dispute, Priority Ltd, claimed it was legitimately allocated and legally registered as the proprietor.

The firm said the property has never been acquired by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the State agency has no worthy evidence to prove ownership. Priority Ltd denied allegations by the agency of impropriety, illegality and fraud in the purchase and transfer of the land.

The firm, through Katwa and Kemboy Advocates, asserted that its title is conclusive evidence of ownership and cannot be revoked. There is no basis for any claim for restitution by KCAA or any third party, and invited the Environment and Land Court to dismiss the sanctions against Priority Ltd, Weston Hotel Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd.

While responding to petition by KCAA, Priority Limited invited the court to dismiss the claim by the State agency and denied having grabbed the parcel of prime land through forcible eviction of government employees. The firm dismissed claims that it was a beneficiary of corruption.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), through Mohamed and Muigai Advocates, has already applied to participate in the dispute on the basis that it is the registered chargee. The bank claims beneficial interest in the property, in which KCAA secured orders on June 21 blocking the valuation, sub-division, sale and transfer of the land.

Bank Secretary Bonnie Okumu explained in a supporting affidavit that Weston Hotel received loan facilities of Sh350million and USD1.5million by a charge dated October 9, 2014 that was registered on October 27, 2014. The firm reportedly secured Sh700million by a further charge dated July 8, 2015 and registered on July 27, 2015.

Okumu said the bank relied on confirmation by the Registrar of Lands that Weston Hotel was the duly registered owner of the property. “If the bank is not enjoined as an interested party, there is a real risk that KCB may be rendered a by-stander as orders which are adverse to its beneficial interests as granted to KCAA,” he said.

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.

 

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