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The politicians invaded a disputed property, along with government officials and brokers, in a scheme to buy their silence and are busy putting up basic infrastructure in flagrant disregard of a High Court order stopping any development on the land. A weekend spot-check found several bulldozers paving roads and preparing building foundations in a desperate race against time by developers, many of who had driven to the property in gleaming high-end vehicles. Thanks to seemingly free-flowing Jubilee blood money.
The property being invaded is at the center of a dispute between city businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose and former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Trustee Jos Konzolo, the owner of a company called Telesource, which claims ownership of the 134-acre land. What is unfolding is an obvious case of mega corruption and impunity with some of the companies involved in the land “owning” it long before they came into existence, which is a legal impossibility.
Indeed, Da Gama Rose, of Goan extraction, has accused the Jubilee government of condoning grabbing of private property. “It is outrageous that the rule of law has broken down completely and people can just walk into private property and declare ownership. It is not a personal matter; if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” said Da Gama Rose from the UK where he is receiving medical attention.
Some owners of the companies claiming the land were in school when the city businessman bought the property in 1982. Government officials involved in the scheme are exercising raw power in defiance of a court order and were demarcating the land last Saturday despite a court order on the matter that is expected to be heard in the High Court on Monday. Court documents show that the prime land has been sub-divided by Konzolo‘s Telesource into 189 plots. The parcels have been taken over by a number of highly-placed government officials and MPs while others were sold. The officials include top security officers, who have deployed an overwhelming contingent of police officers at the site.
Da Gama Rose’s company, Muchanga Investments Limited, has sued three firms, Telesource, Habenga Holdings, Jina Enterprises Ltd and the Director of Survey, Director of Physical Planning, Ministry of Land, Registrar of Titles and Chief Land Registrar in the dispute. The dispute has also sucked in the National Land Commission (NLC) which, in a letter dated May 10, 2013, confirmed that the land belongs to Da Gama Rose.
“I wish to confirm the surrenders in respect of titles IT 74050 and 74051 have been registered. According to our register, LR NO 3586/3 has reverted to its original status. You may confirm the cancellation of the deed plans with the Director of Surveys,” states Peter Kahuho, who signed the letter on behalf of NLC chairman, Mohammed Swazuri.
Justice Nyambura Gacheru barred the parties from interfering with the land until the matter is heard and determined. The temporary orders barring activity on the parcel were extended to Monday, October 13. It may well turn out that those who have benefited from the allocation or purchase of the property may be holding mere paper should the court uphold the position taken by the Commission.
According to Lands official familiar with the land, Jubilee bigwigs have come together to share spoils, protect each other, and using State organs to preserve the takeover, disregarding a court order. They hope or expect the court to rule that the status quo on the land be maintained, in which case they would inadvertently have been granted legal stay as they tighten their grip on the property.
A top Jubilee official grabbed 10 acres, while a Cabinet secretary got six acres, a governor five acres while the 40 MPs involved in the scheme received between half-an-acre and two acres each. An acre of land in the area currently sells at Ksh50 million. The heightened movement on the land started last weekend and accelerated last Wednesday when two MPs and a top Jubilee government official are said to have visited the site.
The 70-year-old businessman’s lawyer, Cecil Miller, said the rule of law had been disregarded. “The rule of law must be upheld. The court order barring any development of the land must be observed. Activities have continued on the land despite a court order,” said Miller. He said that the people moved earthmovers to the land where they are constructing roads.