Widow blames lawyer for delay in land case

The widow of a former provincial commissioner who has claimed ownership of a disputed Sh8 billion parcel of land in Karen has blamed a lawyer for failing to file her defence in the highly contested case.

Ms Carmelina Mburu, wife of Mr John Mburu, who at one time was Nairobi PC, lamented before Justice Lucy Nyambura that her lawyer, Mr Evans Ondieki, had failed her by not filing the necessary responses.

The widow, through another lawyer, Mr Albert Kuloba, pleaded with the judge to be allowed to file answers in the case filed by Mr Cecil Miller, representing Muchanga Investment Ltd, which says it is the bona fide owner of the 134-acre property.

Ms Mburu alleges that the land belonged to her husband and at no time did he transfer it to Muchanga.

Mr Kuloba said the 81-year-old widow’s claim adds a new twist to the land saga, which has sucked in politicians from the Jubilee and Cord sides as well.

But the application by Ms Mburu to adjourn the case to enable the defendant submit more documents was opposed by Mr Miller, who said: “Mr Ondieki made a technical appearance in court on February 9, greeted lawyers and walked, never to return.”

SCUTTLE THE HEARING

Mr Miller said the move by Ms Mburu was to scuttle the hearing of the case.
He said the case had been listed for hearing and that Mr Ondieki knew very well it was to be heard on Monday.

Another lawyer, Mr Steve Gakera, also opposed the request to adjourn the case, saying “all parties were ready to proceed with the hearing.” But Mr Kuloba urged the judge “not to visit the failure of Mr Ondieki on the widow”.

The court heard that Mr Ondieki was not even in the country.

The judge allowed the widow to put in written submissions and directed the case to be heard on March 18.

Former National Social Security Fund boss Jos Konzolo, the director of Telesource Ltd, which is also claiming ownership of the land, defended his acquisition of the property, saying, he followed due process.

“Before purchase, the company conducted due diligence and verified the documents,” said Mr Konzolo.

Mr Miller said the property was sold to his client by the bank, which was the executor of the will of Mr Arnold Bradley, who originally owned the land, which was later transferred to Muchanga.

“In December 1982, Barclays transferred the property to Muchanga at a sum of Sh1.2 million. They are, therefore, a necessary party in the suit as they will shed light into the acquisition of the land,” said Mr Miller.

The court dispute was instigated by businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose, through his company Muchanga, claiming that unknown companies had grabbed his farm and were subdividing it.

This article was published by the DAILY NATION on February 26, 2015