NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – The National Land Commission (NLC) has concluded hearings on a disputed parcel of land where the Weston Hotel is located along Lang’ata Road.
According to a claim lodged by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the property registered as L.R. 209/14372 was irregularly acquired from the agency, an acquisition they want reversed.
“Our brief claim is that this property was initially alienated and set aside for government use and specifically for the development of KCAA headquarters. It was under mysterious circumstances lost and allocated to a private developer,” the aviation authority told NLC.
“It is our claim that the KCAA management and the board have never given consent to surrender this title to any person,” the agency submitted.
Acting Chairperson NLC Chairperson Abigail Mbagaya however put the KCAA to task to explain circumstances under which the parcel transferred to the first allotee Monene Investment and Priority Limited who then sold it to Weston Hotel.
“Why we are curious is because we’ve had a scenario where the Chief Executive Officer of a State Corporation gave out the land without the authority of the Board. He did that progressively and until the entire land was sold then the State Corporation now files a complaint to NLC so that we can return their land,” she pointed out.
Documents filed in support of the KCAA application indicate that KCAA, having received the land the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) under the East African Community never sought a title for the parcel.
In a letter dated June 29, 1999, the Commissioner of Lands (currently NLC) had brought to DCA’s attention the existence of an application to build a Church on the contested piece of land.
DCA had however rejected the request vide a letter dated July 8, 1999 indicating that the property had been earmarked for the construction of KCAA headquarters.
The then Commissioner of Lands had further written to the Ministry of Tranport and Communication on July 19, 2001 seeking DCA’s recommendations on an application for allocation by Kibaki Homes Limited.
The ministry in a response dated August 22, 2001, affirmed that the property belonged to DCA and was not available. According to the transport ministry, the government was set to transfer the land to KCAA, once established, so that the agency could set up its headquarters.
Interestingly however, the Commissioner of Lands moved DCA Central Stores located on the piece of land – now registered as L.R. 209/14372 – on September 26, 2002.
A DCA staff named A.N. Gatta was assigned the responsibility of coordinating the relocation on October 2 the same year, barely a month before KCAA was established (October 24, 2002).
KCAA is said to have established on in August 2008 that the parcel of land they claimed had been registered as L.R. 209/14372 in September 2002 and issued to two private developers – Priority Limited and Monene Investment Limited.
The matter is said to have been reported to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, now the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, in October 2008.
KCAA told the commission that further efforts to reclaim the parcel were unsuccessful.
Priority Limited and Monene Investment Limited are said to have sold the land to the current owner – Weston Hotel.
The hotel through Ahmednassir Abdullahi told the commission it had acquired all requisite permits from the aviation agency which is a requirement for private developers undertaking construction projects close to airports.
“KCAA was involved in this matter all along and they had actually relocated to L.R. 9187 AND L.R. 9188. We’ve submitted the documents which were used to relocate the stores in 2002,” Abdullahi said.
“Both the first allotee (Monene Investment and Priority Limited) and Weston after buying the land wrote letters to KCAA seeking guidelines for developing the property since it is close to Wilson Airport and the agency gave approvals in both instances,” he added.
L.R. 209/14372 has been charged by the Kenya Commercial Bank in the excess of Sh1 billion.