Widow of John Mburu joins Karen land dispute

The widow of a former provincial commissioner on Tuesday laid claim to the 134-acre property in Karen, whose ownership is the subject of another court battle.

Ms Carmelina Mburu, wife of Mr John Mburu, who at one time was Nairobi PC, claimed the land belonged to her husband and at no time did he transfer it to Muchanga Investment Limited.

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.

Lawyer Catherine Njeri Ng’ang’a said she holds power of administration in properties owned by her client and that the disputed land belonged to Mr Mburu, for a lease of 999 years.

“The land was irregularly transferred to third parties without the knowledge of Mr or Ms Mburu. There is sufficient reason to believe that Muchanga obtained the title fraudulently,” Ms Ng’ang’a said.

She said that lawyer Francis Da Gama Rose, who was Mr Mburu’s advocate, never communicated any transfer of the land to the widow.

Former National Social Security Fund boss Jos Konzolo, the director of Telesource Limited, which is also claiming ownership of the land valued at Sh8 billion, defended his acquisition of the property, saying he followed due process of the law.

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

JOIN PROCEEDINGS

At the same time, Lady Justice Lucy Nyambura Gacheru allowed an application by Muchanga to join Barclays Bank in the proceedings.

The company, through lawyer Cecil Miller, argued that the bank was the executor of the Will of Mr Arnold Bradley, who originally owned the land and later transferred it 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,” Mr Miller said.

The protracted 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.

He sued Telesource, Habenga Holdings, Jina Enterprises Limited, Director of Survey, Director of Physical Planning, Ministry of Lands, Registrar of Titles and Chief Land Registrar for illegally acquiring his land.

Telesource maintains it legally bought the land from Jina Enterprises who bought it from Habenga.

The judge extended orders barring any activity on the land to December 10 when the dispute will be heard.

This article was published by the DAILY NATION on November 11, 2014