Environment

NLC face Ksh 2 billion suit from Kwale residents

A section of the disputed land in Kwale County

A section of residents from Kwale county are seeking to lift court orders that stopped the National Land Commission (NLC) from compensating them Ksh. 2billion. The NLC had compulsory acquired the embattled property from these residents of Kwale County in the public interest of constructing Phase 1 of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.

In an application filed at the Environment and Lands Court in Mombasa, the petitioners want the court to set aside the issued high court order.

In this class action suit, one of the petitioners, Julius Mbawa informed the court that two companies ,Kahia Transporters Limited and Trade Lead Limited, claiming ownership of the land erred and mislead the court into issuing the orders.

Mbawa, through his lawyer Mark Igunza further informed the ELC that High Court had no justification to further restrain NLC from paying them since the orders had been obtained through material non-disclosure. “Through materials and information now in our possession, there is no further justification to further restrain NLC from compensating us for the SGR project,” he said. He added that unless the court intervened and issued appropriate orders then the petitioners would continue to suffer irreparable loss and damages.

The case will is scheduled for a hearing on November 12, 2019.

The disputed court order had been issued on November 8, 2017 by Mombasa High Court Judge Justice Charles Yano. The order compelled NLC to stop the compensation of Ksh 2 billion to the residents of Kwale until the land dispute had been resolved. 

Intricacies of the suit is that the two companies in question had filed an injunction to stop the compensation payment. The companies protested the payment on grounds that they were the owners of boundaries of 12 plots located along the SGR corridor.

This prolonged court battle has since delayed the compensation of the residents by the NLC.

The Constitution of Kenya, Article 40(3)(b) stipulates that the State shall not deprive a person of property of any description, or of any interest in, or over, property of any description, unless the deprivation is for a public purpose or in the public interest of which requires prompt payment in full of just compensation to the person. However, this right is limited if any person who has interest in, or right over, that property accesses a court of law to dispute the alleged interest.


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