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DoD fights to save Embakasi barracks

The Department of Defence is fighting to save two key military installations from being pulled down and the land, valued at over Sh40 billion, given to two companies.

In the alternative, the companies, both owned by the same individual, want the court to award them compensation amounting to Sh41.5 billion, the value of the two pieces of land in Embakasi, Nairobi.

In the first case, Nairobi businessman Kenneth Boit, through his Darkwood Investments Company, has gone to court seeking orders to repossess 998 acres on which the Embakasi Barracks stands.

He accuses DoD of encroaching on the property.

In the alternative, Mr Boit wants the court to award him Sh40 billion as compensation for the land he claims DoD grabbed.

YOUTH FOR KANU 92′

In the second case, the Attorney-General has appealed a Sh1.5 billion judgment entered in favour of a company owned by Mr Boit and a former Youth for Kanu ’92 official, Mr Patrick Osero in 2011.

Mr Osero and Mr Boit, through Torino Enterprises, are accusing DoD of grabbing its 90-acre land in Embakasi on which another key installation, the Kenya Army Mine Action Training Centre, stands.

High Court judge Jean Gacheche ordered that the State either surrenders the land to Torino or pays Mr Osero and his associates Sh1.5 billion as compensation.

“The respondent shall, therefore, within the next 30 days, restore the possession of the land back to the petitioner in the same condition as it was when it was unlawfully acquired or alternatively, to pay the petitioner the sum of Sh1,530,000,000, being the current market value of the said land, as per valuation report produced in court, whose valuation and figure was not disputed by the respondent,” ruled Justice Gacheche.

The AG’s office on Sunday said it had moved to the Court of Appeal over the judgment.

“We have lodged an appeal and we are waiting for a hearing date,” said AG Githu Muigai through Senior State Counsel Tom Odede.

“It is our position that the land in question belongs to the government and therefore, the question of compensation does not even arise,” added Mr Odede.

He said the AG’s office had turned down overtures from Torino’s agents seeking an out-of-court settlement.

“Torino approached us for an out-of-court settlement, but we are not keen on that because the land belongs to the government,” said Mr Odede.

LEGAL TITLES

In the suit papers, Mr Boit claims he has legal titles to the land. He claims he bought the land from the defunct Nairobi City Council for Sh40 million in 2001.

Darkwood further claims DoD had agreed to hand the land back to them. The firm now wants the court to kick the State out of the land and the developments on it brought down if it is not awarded the Sh40 billion it is claiming.

The case comes up for hearing later this month while dates for the hearing of the AG’s appeal are yet to be set.