Three sisters have sued the National Land Commission for allegedly secretly taking over possession of their land valued at Sh600 million.
Loise Mugweru, Ruth Mugweru and Winnie Mugweru accused the commission of revoking the title of the land in Nyeri town that they inherited from their father Maaka Mukuhi Mugweru.
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Through lawyer Paul Njuguna, the three sisters argued that the dispute over the land had been settled by the Court of Appeal when it ruled that the land belonged to them and wondered why NLC would encroach on a private land and revoke the title without due process.
“The sisters’ father was the bona fide owner of the land, having been duly issued with the title through a court order. The NLC cannot, therefore, purport to sit and review the land’s ownership when it cannot revoke what had already been decided by a higher court,” said Mr Njuguna.
According to documents filed in court, the dispute dates back to 1977 when one Julius Gichuhi Kimira sued Mugweru over the land’s ownership.
After more than 10 years of court battle, the High Court, on October 6, 1989, ruled in favour of Mugweru, but Kimira filed an appeal claiming the court made a mistake in denying him the land.
However, in April 1998, the Court of Appeal dismissed his claims and confirmed Mugweru’s ownership.
The siblings claimed that when their father died in 2007, they applied to be issued with letters of administrations of his estates, which were given in April 2017, allowing them to take possession and manage the properties.
They claimed earlier this month, they learned that the NLC had revoked their title in unclear circumstances.
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“Upon making inquiries, the sisters discovered that the administrators of the estate of Kimira, Loise Wanjiru Gichuhi and Godwin Wachira Gichuhi had made a complaint before the commission in January 2015 to review the land’s title,” said Njuguna.
It was that complaint that the NLC allegedly acted on and directed the Registrar of Lands titles to revoke Mugweru’s ownership to the land, which the lawyer said has a market value of over Sh600 million.
Mr Njuguna argued that the NLC had no power to revoke ownership of a private land and that the sisters stood to lose their inheritance unless the court intervenes to save them.
“The petitioners suspect there was undercut deals to deny them their inheritance. Even if the NLC wanted to review the land’s title, they should have at least summoned them instead of doing things behind their back,” said Njuguna.
He added that failure by NLC to inform the sisters that a complaint had been lodged against them by Loise Wanjiru Gichuhi and Godwin Wachira Gichuhi went against the rules of natural justice since they were not offered a chance to defend their possession.
He claimed it was fraudulent for Wanjiru and Wachira to file the claim before the NLC when they were aware of the Court of Appeal’s decision, which settled the dispute over the land’s ownership.
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