Billions of shillings worth of property went up with dust when auctioneers armed with court orders flattened residential buildings in Athi River on December 19.
A classic restaurant and bar, shops and other premises were also fattened in the morning raid that was sanctioned by a high court judge handling unfinished matter regarding the same in Makueni.
Galot Industries Ltd (plaintiff) in a protracted case in the Environment and Land Court in Machakos (ELC case number 26 of 2004) wants Rose Njambi, Joash Ochieng, John Gitiya and Geoffrey Were out of a piece of land it laid claim on the Kitengela interchange in Athi River.
Justice C. G. Mbogo on June 25, 2020, upon reading the notice of motion application dated 24th and filed in on even date by the defendants’ counsel under a certificate of urgency ordered the application as urgent.
Justice Mbogo also ordered a stay of execution of the judgement and decree of the ELC in Machakos made by Justice A. O. Angote and dated April 24th, 2020 for 45 days.
He ordered that the application be served upon the concerned parties and be disposed of by way of written submissions.
That upon exchange of affidavits, parties, starting with the defendants will have 14 days each within which to file and serve their submissions. He fixed the mention for August 19, 2020.
Galot Industries Ltd, the owners of London Distillers in Athi River, before the determination of the case, on December 12, 2020, went to court in Makueni and obtained an eviction order through Justice Mbogo.
On December 19, Athi River Officer Commanding Police Station accompanied auctioneers to the disputed area to secure the property before even the matter in dispute was determined in court.
The land in question was published in the Kenya Gazette on April 30, 2009, by the commissioner of lands when it wanted to acquire it for the construction of the multinational Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road development under the Land Acquisition Act.
The Gazette Notice number 4390 targeted land registration numbers it needed, registered owners and size of the land to be acquired.
The pieces of the plots included; 12867/R belonging to Manchester Outfitter (2.3 ha), 337/852 – 0.0773 ha (Calpo Limited), 337/851 – 0.0920 (J S Mehta and R S Mehta.
Plots numbers 12867/I, 11895/20, and 337/850 did not bear names in the said Kenya Gazette notice signed by the then Commissioner of Lands, Z. A. Mabea.
What is more interesting is the missing name of Galot Industries Ltd in the published Gazette Notice.
Njambi, who suffered immensely in the demolition exercise, claimed that Galot Industries Limited under unclear circumstances applied for a title deed for the remaining un-utilized plots allegedly through a subdivision.
“The title deed held by the company is therefore irregularly acquired under the registration of titles Act 281 in the laws of Kenya.
More than four state-of-the-art houses built on the disputed plots were brought down in hours of demolition overseen by the police.
Also brought down with rubles is a classic restaurant and bar with stocks valued at more than Ksh100 million.
Kiosks numbering about 15 were flattened with stocks estimated in millions of shillings in the area.