The embattled National Land Commission (NLC) is seeking a court interpretation on whether its stand on compulsory acquisition of land occupied by two city schools met the constitutional threshold of public interest.
The commission also wants to know who exactly was entitled to get the Sh1.5 billion in compensation.
In a suit filed at the Environment and Lands division of the High Court at Milimani, NLC has termed the case as important with regards to the row involving Ruaraka High as well as Drive-in Primary School in Nairobi.
The commission also wants it determined whether the land on which the two schools sit is publicly or privately owned and at what point NLC was supposed to embark on the compulsory acquisition.
“The reference seeks a determination of these issues to enable completion of acquisition in question and to enable NLC resolve all issues therein in the interest of justice,” said the commission’s lawyer.
He added: “The reference will also enable the preparation and securing of title documents in favour of Drive Inn and Ruaraka School either way.”
In the case documents, NLC has listed Cabinet secretaries for Education and Land, the Attorney-General as well as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission as interested parties.
The county government of Nairobi, the Director of Survey, the Chief Lands Registrar and Afrison Export Import Limited and Huelands Limited are also included.
The dispute stems from the fact that NLC published a notice on June 30, 2017 on the acquisition of 2.8255 hectares and 2.7472 hectares out of a parcel of land known as LR No. 7879/4 for Drive-Inn primary and Ruaraka High School from a total of 5.5727 hectares.
The said land is located at the junction of Thika and Outering roads. It is registered in the names of the two companies having been purchased in 1981 from Joreth Limited.
On March 17, 2017, compulsory acquisition of 13.7701 acres for the two schools was started by the commission following a request from the Ministry of Education through the CS.
Prior to the gazettement of the notice and receipt of the request, the companies had raised a complaint on alleged acquisition of the same land by the Ministry of education as well as Interior.
The two companies had complained that persons including government officers had invaded their property and proceeded to construct schools, administrative offices and roads without their authority.
The firms also alleged that there is a school and a chiefs camp sitting on the disputed land yet they had not been compensated.
However, investigations by EACC revealed that the compulsory acquisition done by NLC was unnecessary as schools occupied public land.
Questions have since been raised as to why Whispering Ltd, which is not the registered proprietor of the disputed land, received the compensation monies on behalf of the two companies.
Last month, NLC’s chairman Muhammad Swazuri, among others, faced the Parliamentary Committee on Land and the Senate’s County public accounts to respond to questions raised on this matter.