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Investor accuses City Hall of grabbing land

The county government has been sued for constructing on a parcel of land without approval from the owners.

The land in Westlands belongs to Salima Enterprises Limited (Sel) and is valued at Sh325 million.

The owners moved to court claiming the Nairobi government had forcibly taken their property without compensation.

Sel says it has never allowed the county government any usage of the property and that it is losing more than Sh200,000 rental income every month. It also says it cannot develop the property.

According to an affidavit by Sel director, Hanif Gulam, in January 2010, the then Nairobi City Council expressed interest in the land.

Mr Gulam said the sale did not go through and the Ministry of Local Government gave reasons in a letter dated January 27, the same year. It also advised them on what to do.

He added that in June 2013, the county government through some contractors started developing the property.

“The defendants action amounts to forceful acquisition of our property without any requisite compensation,” said Mr Gulam.

He added: “The the county government is now employing strong-arm-tactics to take our land.”

Mr Gulam said County Hall was taking advantage of its position to  trespass and encroach on private property.

According to the plaintiff’s amended plaint, the county government officers, in conjunction with the contractor, have blocked the property, fenced it off  and stopped them from accessing it.

Sel is seeking an injunction restraining the county government from taking over the land or interfering with its (Sel) entitlement to the property and an order to pull down structures already erected.

In the alternative, Sel seeks to have the county government compelled to buy the land at market value, which it insits is Sh325 million.

The case had been fixed for hearing last week but the county government had not filed a replying affidavit.

Justice Mary Gitumbi directed the complainant to file and serve his written submissions within two weeks and take a mention date at the registry.