18 June 2019

Kenya: Passaris Seeks Delay to Be Questioned in Five-Year Tenancy Dispute

Nairobi — Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris is seeking adjournment of a scheduled cross-examination in a dispute pitting her against a widow of late billionaire Kultar Singh Hanspal, Alka Roshanlal Hanspal.

Lawyers representing the lawmaker wrote the High Court registry on June 10 stating that their client would be unable to appear in court on July 22 and 25 for cross-examination as she would be representing the National Assembly at the Global Convening on the Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Barbados, an eastern Caribbean island nation.

Passaris has been accused of overstaying her tenancy and frustrating efforts by Alka Roshanlal Hanspal to sell a Sh300 million property sitting on a 2.5 acre piece of land in Nairobi's Kitusuru, which the legislator had leased for a period of one year in 2006.

According to an affidavit filed in relation to the dispute filed in court in 2014, the late Hanspal approved the extension of Passaris' lease by a further two years effective October 2007.

The Woman Representative is then said to have exercised a clause in the lease agreement that allowed her to give a three month notice of intention to acquire the property in March 2009 at a price of Sh35 million.

Hanspal's widow reportedly turned down the offer selling the property instead to a Charles Kanyuga and his wife Grace.

Roshanlal Hanspal has accused Passaris of intimidation, asking the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe the matter.

"I had to run away from Nairobi because I felt my life is in danger. I felt people were following me everywhere I went," she said.

"In fact, even today I live in fear. Whenever I have to go for a court session in Nairobi, I don't know who is watching me," Roshanlal stated in a recent media interview arguing unknown persons had been trailing her movements.

According to the Roshanlal, Charles and Grace Kanyuga have been unable to take ownership of the 2.5 acre property despite having legally acquired it from her as a result of the protracted dispute which continues to drag on in court.

"I feel bad for the person who bought the property from me because he is not enjoying it," she said.

Passaris has argued she carried out extensive repairs on the suit property costing her Sh8.2 million during her tenancy with the concurrence of the late Hanspal.

The legislator also told the court in her initial affidavit filed in support of her application seeking to stop her eviction from the property that she extended a Sh250,000 to the late businessman when her tenancy was extended for a period of two years in October 2007.

Passaris disputed the sale of the property to Charles and Grace Kanyuga further accusing the two of hiring goons to enforce an unlawful eviction.

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