Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moi loses chunk of Kabarak University

Moi loses 100-acre farm in Kabarak
Suleiman Mbatiah | NATION Moi High School Kabarak’s administration block. Part of the school and Kabarak University stand on the land in dispute.
Suleiman Mbatiah | NATION Moi High School Kabarak’s administration block. Part of the school and Kabarak University stand on the land in dispute.
By WANJIRU MACHARIA lwmacharia@ke.nationmedia.com

Retired President Moi lost a part of his Kabarak University in a landmark court ruling.

Mr Moi was ordered to surrender 100 acres to a neighbouring rancher, Mr Malcolm Bell.

He was ordered by the Court of Appeal to surrender the farm within six months.

This was a reversal of a High Court decision giving the land to Moi High School Kabarak, which is sponsored by the former president.

The living quarters for Kabarak University lecturers and Kabarak High School teachers are located on part of the disputed farm.

Part of the farm is also used for growing hay.

The university and the school, developed during Mr Moi’s 24 years in power, were some of his pet projects. If he does not comply with the orders, he could face eviction.

Judgment was delivered in Nakuru by Lady Justice Martha Koome and Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu.

Mr Justice Muga Apondi had allowed the school to continue occupying the land, saying that it had acquired a title deed by adverse possession.

According to that system, if you occupy a piece of land for more than 12 years without the owner’s permission, then you become the owner.

Mr Bell sued the retired president in 2003, arguing he could not have done it earlier because he enjoyed immunity.

Later, the Board of Governors of Kabarak asked to be enjoined in the case, arguing that the institution had adverse possession of the land. Mr Justice Apondi agreed and threw out Mr Bell’s case in 2006.

On Thursday, the judges said there was nothing like Board of Governors at Moi High School Kabarak since it was a private institution. Only public schools are managed by boards.

“We cannot have a Board of Governors in a private school and Mr Moi denied ownership of the school yet evidence in court shows that he is part and parcel of it,” said Judge Koome who read the judgement.

She said the school principal, Dr Henry Kiplagat, who swore an affidavit on behalf of the school, refused to disclose its owner.

Drill borehole

“It is curious how Moi High School Kabarak was transferred from a harambee/public school to private status,” the judge said.

She said Mr Moi had reneged on his promise to drill a borehole, connect electricity and build a cattle dip for the Bells in exchange for the 100 acres.

“The land cannot be assumed to be a gift to Mr Moi since he reneged on his part of the deal,” said the judge. She gave Mr Moi six months to harvest his crop and move out failure to which he will be evicted by force.

She also ruled that the former President will pay the costs both for the High Court case and the appeal.

advertisement