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Ruto does not own hotel linked to Lang’ata land grab, says lawyer


Deputy President William Ruto does not own a city hotel linked to the controversial Lang’ata Road Primary School playground in Nairobi, a lawyer said on Monday.

The hotel’s lawyer, Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi said the belief that Mr Ruto was the owner of the hotel was misplaced. The deputy president is not even a director of the hotel next to Wilson Airport.

Weston Hotel management also sought to distance itself from the controversial land.

Mr Abdullahi spoke as a Mr Patrick Osiero, whom he said is the main shareholder and director of the hotel, declared he had no interest in the controversial parcel of land that was the scene of ugly incidents between protesters, among them school children, and police on Monday.

POPULAR BELIEF

“He (Deputy President) is neither a shareholder nor a director of Weston Hotel. It is a popular belief that he is the owner but that is not true. The hotel is run by a man called Osiero who is the director and main shareholder,” Mr Abdullahi said on phone.

The lawyer said the hotel had no interest in the land, which sits adjacent to it.

In 1998, he said, the hotel tried to negotiate for a side entrance into its premises with the alleged owner of the land, Mr Harbans Singh, but abandoned the move after it was allowed a lane entry from Lang’ata Road.

“At that time, the County Council had denied us entry from Lang’ata Road,” he said.

He stated that the hotel was in no way involved with the current alleged grabbing, in spite of their proximity.

The parcel of land at the centre of the protests on Monday apparently belongs to the school.

 

Records show that the school was awarded the grant for the land in 1974 after an initial allocation of 7.5 acres in 1972.

Investigations have revealed that the school has an allotment letter it acquired in 1975. However, no survey was conducted to give the school the title for the playground.

TRANSFERRED

Investigators are still trying to determine how land that had already been given to the school was transferred to a private developer who was granted 0.6Ha in 1989 and another 0.2Ha in 1994.

According to the investigations, Airport View Housing Ltd was registered in August 1989, just two months before it obtained the initial 99-year lease for four acres.

A search at the companies registry could not reveal the list of directors as the query failed to show any names.

Unconfirmed reports say a Nairobi contractor, Harbans Singh, may be the owner of Airport View Housing Ltd, which was allocated the land in 1989.

Investigators are also seeking to establish whether he is indeed the person allocated the land long after the school.

National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri confirmed that the land was registered to Airport View Housing Ltd, which has not, however, come out to defend it.

Their lawyer Chege Njoroge said he would not react to the claims and was waiting to be served by the NLC to make his submissions.

He maintained that the company had legally acquired the controversial 0.6ha on the border of the school 2 acre plot LR No. 209/7996.