Konzolo wants Barclays in court over Karen land saga

Former National Social Security Fund managing trustee Jos Konzolo wants officials of Barclays Bank summoned to court to explain how they transferred the 134-acre Karen land to a businessman.

Mr Konzolo’s company Telesource Com Limited through lawyer Stephen Gekara argued that it would not be fair for the court to consider an affidavit filed by the bank’s legal officer without being cross-examined.

“It is not enough for the bank to say they do not wish to participate in the proceedings when Mr Da Gama Rose says he bought the land from them. The bank has not confirmed or denied the claims, so it is only just if they are called to clarify the position,” said Gekara.

His position was supported by the ministry of Land and widow of late Provincial Commissioner John Mburu, Ms Carmellia Mburu, who is also claiming the disputed land valued at over Sh8 billion.

Ms Mburu, through lawyer Albert Kuloba, claimed that her husband was short-changed by lawyers who held his properties in trust, including Francis Da Gama Rose whose son Horratius is now claiming ownership of the land.

“After her husband’s death, she wrote to the public trustee to pursue the properties with the trustee responding that she should be helped to ascertain her late husband’s properties. She believes that the Karen land was among the properties the lawyers tampered with,” said Mr Kuloba.

Mr Kuloba submitted that in 2014 when they noticed the land was being sub-divided to unknown people, she complained to the ministry of Land only to discover that Mr Da Gama Rose through his company, Muchanga Investments Ltd, had filed a suit to stop the subdivision.

Lawyer Cecil Miller representing Mr Rose and his company, however, objected to summoning Barclays Bank officials, saying it will derail the speedy conclusion of the dispute.

“The bank made it clear they were not interested in taking an active role in the proceedings and that they will only rely on the affidavit by the legal officer. Summoning them will take us back and reopen fresh proceedings when we are almost finalising the case,” said Miller.

Although Barclays had in its response stated they did not want to be part of the proceedings, its legal counsel Waweru Mathenge swore that documents in their possession confirmed they had transactions relating to the property with Mr Da Gama Rose.

“The process of transferring the property and payment of legal fees was completed in January 1983 and the file closed. The property appears against the entry recorded in the security journal with the customer name indicated as Da Gama Rose (Investment) Limited,” swore Mathenge.

The bank was brought into the case as interested party by Mr Da Gama Rose who argued that the bank was the executor of the will of the late Arnold Bradley who originally owned the land and later transferred it to his company.

The bank had also confirmed that it was appointed as a trustee by Mr Bradley who gave them the power to administer his estates after his death in 1973.

Dealings in the controversial land have led to charges being preferred against suspended Land CS Charity Ngilu, Mr Konzolo and other ministry officials.

Lady Justice Lucy Gacheru will give directions on the request by Mr Konzolo on July 17.

This article was published by the BUSINESS DAILY on June 26, 2015