NAIROBI November 10 – The former ruling party KANU has lost a bid to reclaim the ownership of the prestigious Kenyatta International Conference Centre after the High Court dismissed a case it filed against the government.,
Three High Court judges dismissed the case which was filed in 2003 for lack of evidence to support KANU’s claim to the multi million shillings conference facility.
The judges ruled: “The substantive motion was not supported by evidence. We therefore dismiss the application for Judicial Review because the applicants failed to file verifying affidavits.”
The Narc government took over the ownership of the building in 2003, through what the then Minister for Tourism Raphael Tuju termed as an ‘executive order.’
The landmark building has since been managed as a government parastatal under the Ministry of Tourism and its run-down facilities refurbished to the international standards.
Two weeks ago, KANU’s lawyer Kethi Kilonzo withdrew from the case claiming she was no longer receiving instructions from her clients.
The Narc administration, represented by Lawyer Gibson Kamau Kuria had during the hearing of the case maintained that KANU did not file a proper case.
Mr Kuria argued before the court that KANU was a society and therefore was not legal applicant before the court. He claimed that it was necessary that officials be named as applicants in the case filed against the government.
He also argued that the ex-ruling party had named President Mwai Kibaki as the first respondent in the case yet the constitution prohibited prosecution of a sitting President.
Justice Nyamu however dismissed his argument saying the President was only immune to civil and criminal prosecution but would not escape judicial review matters or matters touching on the constitution.
In court, the party had claimed that they bought the building which was largely occupied by Kanu members during its reign.
Immediately after the government took over, a number of KANU legislators threatened to boycott Parliament should they not be handed back their offices from which they had been evicted.
The High Court later ruled that members of the party could reoccupy their offices since the title deed was in the party’s possession.