Kenya: Land Cases Bedevil Moi 17 Years On

Former President Daniel Moi.

Retired President Daniel arap Moi is a man under siege, battling a litany of multibillion-shilling land cases 17 years after he left office.

Last week's case, in which the High Court ordered Mr Moi to pay a family Sh1 billion for 53 acres acquired illegally, adds to several suits filed in court, some of which have been concluded and the former President ordered to pay millions of shillings.

ILLEGALLY

Last month, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission moved to repossess prime land located within Eldoret town centre, which was grabbed by Lima Ltd, which is co-owned by Mr Moi and former Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott.

The court ruled that the land was irregularly transferred to Lima Ltd.

The retired President and late Biwott formed the company in 1975 to take advantage of the indigenisation policy that was established in the 1970s, and whose objective was to loosen European and Asian businessmen's grip on economic power.

The titles of the grabbed land were later used by Lima to secure a loan by Trans-National Bank Ltd, another business co-owned by Moi and Biwott.

On this plot stands the Eldoret Fire Station, the AP camp, the High Court, Children's, Environment and Land courts, the Court of Appeal and a public hospital.

In October 2010, the courts also revoked ownership of seven pieces of land by Lima Ltd in Eldoret town.

In another case, four businessmen -- Mr Mohammed Koriow Nur, Mr Simon Kiprono Laboso, Mr Macdonald Lijoodi Maraka and Mr Noor Mohamed Hassan -- have sued the retired President, accusing him of grabbing their land and transferring it to a private company.

The four businessmen claim Mr Moi illegally and without any justifiable cause transferred the 16-acre piece of land situated near City Cabanas in Nairobi to Tulip Properties Ltd.

The case is still awaiting determination as to who between the company and the four traders is the bona fide owner as each has a title to the land worth Sh1.6 billion.

Mr Moi is also locked in a battle for a 20-acre piece of land claimed by United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). The university claims that the former President illegally sold the land to Dr George Kiongera for Sh500 million.

OCCUPANCY

In the suit, Mr Moi is accused of selling the land to the university and Dr Kiongera's Maestro Connections Health Systems Ltd using reconstituted title deeds.

In May 2016, an Eldoret court awarded two families Sh8 billion after ruling that two state agencies forcibly took 1,150 acres of their family land during Mr Moi's presidency. The families named Mr Moi and former assistant minister and Mosop MP, the late Stanley Metto, as some of the illegal beneficiaries of the land taken from them 30 years ago.

In yet another case, Nakuru-based rancher Malcolm Bell won a landmark suit against the retired President after the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, giving him back 110 acres of land.

Mr Bell and Mr Moi are neighbours in Kabarak, where the former President has 1,080 acres (437.06 hectares) of land while Mr Bell owns 1,200 acres.

In court documents, Mr Bell said that Moi High School Kabarak, owned by the retired President, through its agents, encroached onto and occupied a portion of his land measuring about 110 acres in 1986 without any transfer of land being made to the school and with no compensation being made.

In his defence, Mr Moi and the school argued that Mr Bell gifted the school the land in 1993, prior to his demise and further contended that the school's long occupancy of the land conferred adverse possessory rights of the land.

The protracted case was put to rest by the Supreme Court ruling after 10 years.

And last week, the High Court in Eldoret, in a landmark ruling, ordered the former President as well as Rai Plywood (K) Ltd to pay Sh1 billion to a family whose land they grabbed.

The land was taken from ex-chief Noah Kipngeny Chelugui on September 21, 1983, and later sold to a firm owned by the Jaswant Rai family.

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