Thousands of property owners in Nairobi’s Umoja and Kariobangi estates could pay up to Sh17 billion should the courts grant a private company rights to reclaim 676 acres of land that had been grabbed by private developers.
The Kiambu Dandora Farmers Company Limited, which claims to be its bonafide owner, reckons that the property owners will have to purchase the land at Sh21 million per acre and another Sh420, 000 as special damages losses.
The controversial parcel of land is between the railway line to the north, Kangundo Road to the south, the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries factory to the west and Coca-Cola to the east.
The court has ordered the property owners to register land on which their investments are sitting with the land buying company by December 9—to allow for the individual valuation of the parcels for payments due to Kiambu Dandora Farmers Company Limited.
This looks set to open a fresh battle for control of Nairobi’s pricey land that has seen the demolition of homes in Syokimau on claims that the land had been grabbed from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
Kariuki Njoroge, a director in the company who also acts as its treasurer, says that the land buying firm will demolish the homes on the controversial parcel of land if they fail to repurchase at market rates.
“The land was rightfully acquired and we now want the individuals who have encroached to pay us at the market rates or face demolition,” said the 75-year- old Njoroge, who owns an equivalent of five acres.
The official said they had obtained an eviction order that mandated them to remove the illegal occupants from their parcel but they have chosen not to implement it.
He added that the company — originally owned by 225 members — acquired the parcel by paying Sh350 per acre in 1966 from Khan Farm, but the land has since been encroached by the State and individuals.
The land was then known as Khan Farm and covered the whole of Dandora Phase One and Phase Two with an area of more than 818 acres.
The land was registered in the name of the trustees of the company in 1970. It could not be subdivided to the members due to internal leadership wrangles.
After a lengthy legal suit, the matter was settled by the High Court in 2006, when a decree was issued vesting the land in the company.
But private investors colluded with corrupt officials at the Ministry of Lands to issue fake titles and allotment cards to unsuspecting individuals.
The company blames powerful politicians in past regimes who allocated themselves and their aides’ land, which has since changed ownership several times — exposing the current owners to heavy losses.
It will also be demanding money from the Government and Nairobi City Council for 275 acres that was used to develop homes for civil servants and low income workers known as Kariobangi Civil Servant and Umoja II estate in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
The Government was to pay for land under compulsory acquisition but they failed to agree on pricing with the land buying company—prompting the Ministry of Lands to return the Sh68,000 to Treasury.
The land buying insisted then that the amount was less than the Sh96, 250 they had used to buy the land.
Land PS Dorothy Angote says a decree of compulsory acquisition by the government cannot be contested, but the petitioners could challenge the amount offered as compensation.
“The petitioners cannot legally decline compulsory acquisition by the State but could only challenge the amount offered as compensation,” said Ms Angote, who was unaware of the suit.
“The law governing compulsory acquisition is very clear, so if they are dissatisfied by the amount they were offered, they could appeal to the courts against the award,” she added.
Officials of the company claim in their petition that the government failed to consult them, or seek the opinion of independent valuers.