16 October 2012

Kenya: Private Companies Threaten to Evict General Service Unit From Land

Two private companies which own the land that hosts the General Service Unit staff headquarters have sued the government.

They want the government to pay Sh6.45 billion or risk the eviction of the officers. Afrison Export Import and Huelands want the High Court to order the government to pay the money arrived at after a recent valuation of the 37 acres.

Negotiations for the payment started in May when the Ministry of Internal Security acknowledged illegal occupation and offered to buy the land instead of going through the court process.

Lawyers for the two companies filed a notice at the High Court demanding that the court declares that the Office of President has trespassed and has illegally been occupying the land since 1988.

The land is part of 96 acres owned by private citizens at the Drive-In Estate on the Nairobi-Thika highway. The government was slapped with a Sh3 billion bill last year.

Following negotiations and a recent valuation after the government showed willingness to buy 37 acres instead of the 28, the price was put at Sh6.45 billion.

In May, a committee at the Ministry of Internal Security was formed to negotiate the payment. The government hived off 37 acres and a deed plan was issued in June.

The two companies have separately sued the City Council of Nairobi and the Attorney General for allowing unlawful other parties to pay land rates yet they know the land belongs to them.

The companies bought 96 acres from Joreth in 1981. They set out a housing project for the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Company, now Telkom Kenya.

In 1988 the government intervened and had it transferred to the GSU. No money was paid for the original 28 acres. A valuation of the property in 2006, acknowledged by the office of the Solicitor General, placed the value of land at Sh460 million.

A few years ago, the property value had escalated to Sh3 billion while the recent valuation report attributed the improved road network as one of the reasons for the doubling in the price.

The application made at the High Court claims the receiver manager for the property, Continental Credit Finance are willing to discharge the property if they are paid Sh100 million.

According to the document, the payment to receiver and interim liquidator can only be done if the government pays the owners the purchase price.

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