A church has been directed to pay former Nyeri Town MP Wanyiri Kihoro Sh4.5 million for illegally occupying his land in Uthiru, Nairobi for over thirty years.
Presbyterian Church of East Africa (Uthiru Church) and its chairperson, were also directed to remove their structures on the land within 90 days.
High Court Judge Elijah Obaga in his judgment found that the church had illegally been occupying the land which initially belonged to Mr Kihoro’s wife, the late political activist Dr Wanjiru Kihoro.
Justice Obaga said the church has no basis staying on the land because it had failed to demonstrate that it met the statutory threshold to claim ownership of the land.
The judge further said that the restriction which was registered on the land by the Kikuyu Town Council, making it difficult for Mr Kihoro to take ownership of the land from the church, had no basis.
Kikuyu Town Council was directed to pay Mr Kihoro Sh2.5 million in damages.
“The restriction and caution were put in place when Dr Wanjiru was immobilised in hospital. PCEA Uthiru was even running around during this period trying to have the land registrar carry out proceedings in respect of ownership of the suit property,” Justice Obaga.
The court also noted that the church as well as the Town Council of Kikuyu, were aware of the condition of Mr Kihoro’s wife as the registered owner of the property.
“The actions of the Town Council of Kikuyu, PCEA Uthiru and chairperson of the church call for not only an award of general compensatory damages but also exemplary damages,” justice Obaga.
Mr Kihoro had told the court that the church had illegally taken possession of the half acre and built a worship centre on it, after claiming to be the beneficiaries of his wife, the political activist Dr Wanjiru Kihoro, as she lay in a coma in Nairobi Hospital.
But the church had argued that the land is rightfully theirs and belonged to them long before Dr Kihoro bought it.
Dr Kihoro was injured in a plane crash in Busia in 2003.
She died in October 2006 after being in coma at Nairobi Hospital for three years and nine months.