Nairobi — A Catholic Priest has sued John Cardinal Njue and Marie Therese Gacambi of the Assumption Sisters for interfering with the running of St Mary's Mission hospital and high school in Nairobi, and a similar hospital in Nakuru.
In the civil case filed on Wednesday, Father William Charles Fryda of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society in the United States who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the institutions has accused the two of trying to kick him out with an aim of taking over the property.
According to the priest and documents lodged in court, he single handedly sourced for funds to buy the parcels of land and construct the institutions after getting a go-ahead from his Catholic order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society.
The Chairman of the Board of St Mary's Mission high school Frank Enderi said on Friday that they were now seeking a permanent injunction restraining the two defendants from interfering with the running of the institutions.
"This is a non-profit making institution; we all look at it as our individual property," he told Capital FM News.
"Allow the hospitals to work without interference; allow the students who have no hope elsewhere to be given time to read well and become positive members of the world and Kenya as they look forward," he pleaded.
He explained that Father Fryda, being a foreigner had an arrangement with the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi to have the parcels of land registered under its trustees and they were now using this to claim ownership of the property.
"Because of the harassment that has been taking place on the hospital and on the person of Father Fryda in terms of running his institutions correctly as an individual and according to our mission which is to take care of the poor at affordable prices and having the best quality that one can afford, he has filed a court case to allow the matter to be solved amicably in court," Enderi said.
Father Fryda who is a medical doctor came to Africa in 1980 as a missionary doctor and first worked in Tanzania before coming to Kenya in 1991 where he worked at the Nazareth hospital in Kiambu.
"While working at the said hospital, the plaintiff (Fr Fryda) witnessed the acute plight of the poor section of Kenyan society who needed efficient, dedicated and affordable medical treatment but was unable to access the same due to both financial and personnel constraints and the plaintiff thereupon decided to look for means of redressing the situation," reads a court statement by the father.
He further states that he managed to buy the first pieces of land L.R. No. 27228 (originally 18590) and L.R. No. 27229(originally 18591/11) in Lang'ata where the St Mary's Mission Hospital and high school is now located in 1998. The purchase of the 20-acre piece of land cost Sh38 million.
The Catholic priest says he later acquired another piece of land in Elementaita, Nakuru L.R. No. 9361/10 and entered into building contracts with Kilimanjaro Construction Company Limited for the construction of the hospital and paid all the construction costs.
"The plaintiff operated, managed and ran both hospitals in Lang'ata and Elementaita for over 10 years when all of a sudden and due to a change of leadership at the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi, the new leaders started to interfere with the running and management of the hospitals," his statement further reads.
"They claim that because the pieces of land on which the hospitals stand were registered in the name of their registered trustees, the plaintiff was a trespasser on the hospitals who needed to be evicted," Father Fryda says.
He further claims that at about the same time the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi started claiming ownership of the land and institution therein, John Cardinal Njue started calling him and expressed interest in the hospitals and the land on which they were built.
He claims the Cardinal also started piling pressure on the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Society in the United States to have him hand over the hospitals to the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi and also be taken out of the country.
He also accuses the Cardinal of teaming up with seven other individuals to found a Private University College known as Regina Pacis University College on the Lang'ata land.
"It is thus clear beyond peradventure that the aim of the defendants is to take the property of St Mary's Mission hospital both in Nairobi and Elementaita, which were established through the fundraising efforts of the Plaintiff.... and to transfer them to the Private University College fronted by and calculated to personally benefit the first defendant (John Cardinal Njue)," he says.