Nairobi News

Hustle

Firm that sold DP Ruto Weston hotel land speaks out


A travel agency has defended the ownership of the piece of land on which Nairobi’s Weston Hotel stands, arguing that the title deed was acquired legally and that the airports regulator has no claim to the property.

In documents filed in court, Priority Limited says the title to the land was obtained in good faith, is legitimate and cannot be faulted through the petition or any other case.

Through the law firm of Katwa & Kemboy, the company says that being the registered owner of the parcel serves as conclusive evidence of ownership.

The company has further stated that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has no “worthy evidence,” to claim ownership of the land hosting hotel associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

KCAA has filed a suit in court seeking to reclaim the land and has opposed a deal between Weston and the National Land Commission (NLC) for the hotel to compensate the authority so that it can continue occupying the land.

In the case filed in June, KCAA said NLC did not have the jurisdiction to preside over the complaint on compensation for the land, and wants the hotel demolished and the property handed back to it.

Based on fraud

Priority Limited was allocated the land that was later transferred to Weston in a deal that KCAA says was based on fraud.

In response to the KCAA petition, Priority Ltd has denied allegations of fraud on the title, arguing that KCAA is yet to table documents in court as proof of the fraud.

The company has also contested KCAA demands for revocation of the title deed, arguing that the authority is motivated by ulterior motives.

Records at the registry show that Priority Limited is owned by Paul Chirchir and Mathews Otieno, and has filed with the State documents revealing who are its bankers, auditors and lawyers.

KCAA said under section 14 of the NLC Act, the commission’s mandate to review grants and terms of public land expired five years from commencement date of the Act, which was May 12, 2012.

It therefore argued that the commission’s mandate to review grants and dispositions of public land expired in May 2017.

Deal brokered

The agency filed the case to challenge the deal brokered between NLC and the owners of Weston Hotel.

“NLC had no powers to review grants and dispositions by January 25, 2019, which is more than one year eight months late. This suggests deliberate delay by the NLC to frustrate the KCAA,” reads part of the pleadings filed in court.

In the decision, delivered on January 25, 2019, NLC recognised and emphasised KCAA’s entitlement to the piece of land remained unchallenged and noted that Weston Hotel and the initial owners of the land, Priority Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd, irregularly procured the registration of the land. It then ordered the company to compensate KCAA.

But in the papers filed in court by James Orengo and Otiende Amollo, KCAA insists that it owns the land and any entity with a different title procured it through illegality, fraud and corruption.

This story first appeared in the Business Daily