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Land officials summoned over sale of land for Ruai sewer plant

Senior lands officials have been summoned to court to explain how 665 hectares of public utility land meant for the expansion of  a sewage treatment plant in Nairobi was transferred to a private developer.

The National Lands Commission secretary, the chief lands registrar and the Nairobi County director of survey, are required to attend court in person on July 17 to shed light on the acquisition of the plot in Ruai by Renton Company Limited.

Petitioners, who include a group of squatters kicked out of the plot despite a court order in their favour and a city businessman allowed to join the proceedings “on behalf of the public”, want the title revoked, and the land reverted to its proposed public use.

FRAUDULENT TRANSFER

It is alleged that the property, held in trust by the then Nairobi City Council, was  fraudulently transferred to the private firm, without permission of the lands commissioner.

Justice John Mutungi issued the summons after the State offices failed to honour a hearing at the High Court on Monday, forcing an adjournment of the case.

“The said witnesses were to attend court to clear the air on land records, the emanating allocations and any subsequent sub-divisions thereof.

“The officials hold the records of the land and must be in court to clear the air  on how the title came about,” the judge directed.

Renton claims it is the genuine owner, having been allocated the land by the City Council while its accusers claim it grabbed public land meant to benefit the growing Nairobi population.

In suit papers, Mr Jacob Juma states that “the city is faced with an exponential population growth occasioning an urgent need to revoke the title and revert the land back to its original intended use, the expansion of the sewer plant.”

SEWAGE PLANT

Mr Juma claims in his application that the land was allocated to former Nairobi City Council by the government in 1996 for  purposes of development of a sewage treatment plant and other facilities as part of implementation of Nairobi Metropolitan Growth Strategy of 1973.

“The suit land was registered in favour of  NCC on  April 12 1996 at 9.30am and transferred to Renton Limited at 10.25am the same day  in a manner that was manifest with corruption, fraud and breach of Constitution,” the petitioner says.

He seeks an injunction over any further use of the multi-millions shillings property against the directors of the private company.

The judge also directed that Mr Juma serves the respondents with his pleadings in seven days.

The real estate company is alleged to have sub-divided and sold the plot to several people who the judge also wants to clear the air over how they acquire their titles.

“The plot owners may need to shed light on how their titles came about… we need to resolve this matter once and for all,” the judge said.