Barclays #ticker:BBK and KCB #ticker:KCB are entangled in a suit involving Nairobi tycoon Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki, who has accused a real estate company of fraudulently sub-dividing and selling off his land in Kajiado.
The two banks, which are enjoined as defendants in the suit pending in court, are holding as security titles of sections of the land in dispute.
At the centre of the row is 2.4 hectares in Ongata Rongai, which Mr Kariuki claims to have bought from his sister, Rose Wanjiru, in 1989.
The wealthy businessman, who owns multiple properties, says that sometime in 2013, he retained the services of Green Plots Properties run by one George Ndegwa to subdivide the parcel into 35 quarter-acre plots for sale.
He claims that Green Plots Properties abused the contract and in collusion with the Kajiado land registrar fraudulently excised portions of the property, which was allegedly divided and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
“[There was] fraudulent collusion between the Kajiado District Land Registrar and the 25th defendant in undertaking and approving a fraudulent survey of the excised portion,” says Mr Nginyo in court papers.
He notes one title is charged by one Paul Odhiambo in favour of Barclays and another one by one George Owino in favour of KCB's Savings and Loan Kenya Limited.
Mr Kariuki claims that he surrendered his title to Kajiado District Land Registrar upon retaining the services of Green Plots Properties for purposes of processing of the titles for subdivisions.
But in what he terms a well laid-out plan, Green Plots Properties informed him that the total acreage for the resultant sub-divisions was actually less.
The firm indicated that its investigations had revealed that the missing portion was allegedly in the parcel of the land owned by his sister, originally the owner of the entire portion.
This kicked off a boundary dispute between him and his sister on the one hand, and owners of another parcel, which neighbours his land, on the other.
Green Plots Properties allegedly made him believe that the two had encroached on his land, when actually they have sub-divided the portion and were disposing of it to customers.
Mr Kariuki filed a complaint at the land registry seeking to correct the anomaly.
He carried out a resurvey of the land and discovered that 11 parcels of the sub-divisions were fraudulently created in the neighbour’s plot during mutation in order to preserve some portion of his land for fraudulent disposal.
In one of the letter he sent to the Commissioner of Land in 2009 and copied to the director of criminal investigations, he says that his surveyor, Robert Githui, colluded with the land officials without his consent to create some titles that were sold to unsuspecting people.
Mr Kariuki says that the officials at Kajiado district lands registry advised him to file the suit since the issue involves cancellations of the title deeds.
He moved to court in 2010 and listed 25 individuals and companies as respondents, in a suit that is set to attract even more parties considering that the plots might have changed ownership since then.
Last week on Thursday Mr Kariuki in a newspaper advert informed the defendants of the pending suit.