BY SAM ALFAN.
Environment and Land Court will rule on march 3, whether the court has jurisdiction to determine the land dispute between Weston Hotel and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)case.
Justice Benard Eboso told the parties he will deliver his ruling next year after Weston Hotel challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determinate the dispute which lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi has termed a political process used to fight the Deputy President by the opposition.
Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has supported Weston Hotel’s bid for the dismissal of a case filed by the aviation regulator arguing that the court lacks powers to determine the matter.
KCB urged Justice Benard Eboso to dismiss the case saying the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter, since instead of filing an appeal against a decision delivered by the National Land Commission in January last year, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) filed a new case.
“The petitioner had the option of appealing the determination of NLC within the prescribed period if it was aggrieved. It did not. In bad faith and without regard to due process, it filed the instant petition in a guise that its constitutional rights had been violated,” KCB submitted.
The lender further said, “We humbly ask your lordship not to sanction such abuse of court process, to heed to the clarion call that procedure is indeed the handmaiden of justice and instead dismiss this petition with costs.
In court papers, KCB reckon that it advanced the Hotel more than Sh1 billion and canceling the title would prejudice it.
The lender said the first loan of Sh350 million was advanced to the hotel in October 2014 and charge registered. The bank said about a year later, in July 2015, the Hotel took a further loan of Sh700 million.
And on both occasions, the bank said it did a search with the Registrar of Land, who assured them that Weston Hotel was the registered proprietor of the land and that the title it held was genuine.
“At the time of registration, the interested party (KCB) did a due diligence and fulfilled all prerequisites to registration of the charge in land as required by law,” the Bank said in documents filed in court.
According to KCB, an order declaring the title illegal would prejudice the lender as it would lose the only security it has over the loan, which the hotel is still repaying.
Weston has defended the ownership of the land saying it was an innocent purchaser and the case was filed with ulterior motives, especially after NLC made a finding that the title was acquired legally.
Veteran lawyer Ahmednasir Abdulahi told the court that the case against Weston Hotel is about 2022 presidential elections politics and it is a conspiracy between KCAA and certain political actors to politicize the alleged dispute for cheap political political drama over the suit property.
“The petition herein is a cheap attempt on the part of the conspirators to malign and scandalise the Deputy President because it is believed he has certain interest and association with the property,” said Ahmednasir.
Ahmednasir said the case is being prosecuted to damage Dr Ruto politically and it precisely because of that political scheme that KCAA had been forced to file the petition before court instead of filing an appeal from the decision of the National Land Commission.
He urged the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.
“The petitioner is under instructions to undertake a political hatchet job on the Deputy President and this case in this case in its entirety is a” wanton act of political skullduggery, ” added Ahmednasir in his submission.
He added that when the case started, it had a number of politicians lead by Senior Counsel James Orengo who he claims almost turned the court proceedings into an Orange Democratic Movement political rally.
“That appearance of politicians ostensibly as advocates for the KCAA was part of the scheme to turn the case into a political game whereby the Deputy President will be abused and scandalized and if it was not on the part of Weston Hotel to commence a preemtory strike, the court would have witnessed a very sad and unsavory state of affairs, ” added Ahmednasir.