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Trader wants Joho charged with contempt

Monday November 18 2019

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho

A file photo of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PHILIP MUYANGA
By PHILIP MUYANGA
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A businessman on Monday had a video played in court to buttress his application for Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho to be cited for contempt.

Mr Ashok Doshi and his wife Pratibha, who are embroiled in a land dispute with Mombasa County, provided the clip during the hearing of their application.

In the five-minute video played at the Environment and Land Court in Mombasa, Mr Joho accompanied by several politicians are seen addressing the public in an open space.

Some members of the public are then seen pulling down a huge black gate next to a perimeter wall around the piece of land.

The court had issued orders restraining the county from trespassing on the land belonging to Mr Doshi.

LAWFUL OWNERS

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Through lawyer Willis Oluga, Mr Doshi allege that on May 10, county officials led by Mr Joho hired goons in breach of the court order, invaded the land and pulled down the gate.

The plaintiffs add that the leaders held a public rally where they accused Mr Doshi of being a land grabber.

The governor, the trader's application claimed, had stated "as the ‘President’ of Mombasa County, he had revoked the plaintiff's title to the land.”

Mr Joho, Chief Lands Officer Jaffer Mohesh and Mr Bernard Ogutu, who represents Changamwe Ward, are accused of disobeying the court order by invading and trespassing on the land, thus interfering with Mr Doshi’s peaceable use, ownership and title of the property.

The plaintiffs further note that the county, led by Mr Joho as governor and Mr Ogutu as a public officer, should be the ones upholding the rule of law and dignity yet they engaged in acts of lawlessness and hooliganism.

“Law and order must be observed and court orders obeyed by all, irrespective of status and positions held,” the application states.

JOHO'S DEFENCE

Mr Oluga told Justice Sila Munyao that there was no replying affidavit from Mr Joho in opposition to the allegations of disobedience of the court order.

“There is no affidavit from the governor that he did not know about the order,” he further submitted.

Through lawyer Murtaza Tajbhai, however, Mr Joho told the court that he was never served with the contempt application and court order.

Mr Tajbhai also said, "It is clear from the video that the governor and the second defendant (Mr Ogutu) were outside the parcel of land."

He also argued that no county official was present at the time the gate was destroyed.

DOSHI'S PRAYERS

Mr Doshi and his wife now want an order stating they are the lawful owners of the property in Changamwe.

The couple is also seeking a permanent injunction restraining the county, Mr Ogutu and any other person acting for them from demolishing the perimeter wall or any other structure on the land.

The plaintiffs say the trespass has resulted in serious damage to their property and that the county threatened to evict them with the aim of reverting ownership of the land to Changamwe Secondary School.

They also argue that the allegation that the land was grabbed from the school are baseless because the previous occupant's title and ownership were affirmed by various courts.

“The defendants have no legal basis to visit the plaintiff’s property, which is private and serve an enforcement notice which does not relate to their property and is not addressed to them,” the petition states.

The court will deliver its ruling on February 12.