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Lang’ata school land developer sues Ngilu

The private developer accused of illegally taking ownership of the Lang’ata Primary School playground has renewed his fight over the prime property, with a fresh suit against Land minister Charity Ngilu and the National Land Commission (NLC).

Airport View Housing Limited wants the High Court to declare it the legal owner of the disputed land it claims to have acquired between 1989 and 1994 after successfully amalgamating two adjoined pieces of land.

The developer accuses Ms Ngilu and the NLC of accessing the land without Airport View’s permission as the registered owner of the land, and publicly declaring the firm’s directors land grabbers.

VIOLATION OF RIGHTS

“Without according Airport View a hearing or due process as prescribed by the Land Act, the defendants dismissed the petitioner’s title hence violating its right to property and security of land rights,” the firm said in suit papers.

Airport View wants the Land minister and the NLC compelled to pay for damages suffered in the Langata Road Primary land saga, aside from getting back the land.

The suit comes barely two weeks after the developer withdrew another suit it had filed in court having been rendered void after demolition of the wall.

Justice Mary Gitumbi struck out the suit filed in January, a move that appears to have set the stage for a new vicious legal battle over the 1.4 acre piece of land.

The developer had sued City Hall in a bid to retain the land prior to demolition of a perimeter wall it had erected around the plot last December.

The firm has enjoined Nairobi City County and Attorney- General Githu Muigai in the new suit.

City Hall, has according to court documents, erected a new perimeter wall on the land with a signboard reading “owned by Langata Road Primary School”.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi directed the developer to serve the respondents and return before her on March 5 (Wednesday) for further directions.

IGNORING ISSUES

The developer accuses the NLC of ignoring a number of issues raised at a hearing on February 13, forcing it to file the second suit regarding the land.

Airport View claims it paid Sh2.7 million to the government between 1989 and 1994 for 10.9 acres, which the disputed 1.4 acres is part of.

Ms Ngilu last month named Nairobi contractor Harbans Singh as Airport View’s largest shareholder with 3,000 shares.

Mr Singh is best known as a politically connected Kanu-era contractor associated with a former president and a former vice-president.

The other directors are Mandip Singh Amrit and Kamal Prakash Amrit who own 1,000 shares each, and Manjit Singh Amrit who does not hold any shares in the firm.

VALID OWNER

Ms Ngilu and NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri, while declaring Langata Road Primary the valid land owner of the land, said they had carried out investigations into the matter, something Airport View has challenged saying it was not given a chance to defend itself.

The shareholders released a statement last month in which they denied the land grabbing claims, insisting that they had validly acquired the land.

Mandip Singh Amrit has blamed City Hall for the demonstration by pupils and activists that led to the destruction of a perimeter fence it had put up in preparation for the land’s development.

The scene turned ugly after police fired teargas at the demonstrators, sparking public anger. The ensuing backlash saw the police suspend the local commander Elijah Mwangi.

Five children were injured in the incident.