I wish to comment on the stories on pages 4 and 5 of the Daily Nation of July 9.
The impression created is that LR No. 7879/4 does not belong to Afrison Import and Export Ltd and Hueland Limited, but nothing is farther from the truth. The title deed shows who the true owners f the land, in Ruaraka, are.
Secondly, the National Land Commission did not violate the law when it decided to pay compensation as required by the regime of compulsory acquisition.
Article 40(3) of the Constitution provides a clear road map on compensation and there is nothing in the parliamentary report to show that it was violated. The process of procedure that Parliament has raised can be dealt with in a manner that should not impute ill motive on any one party.
Afrison and Hueland have been made victims of bad publicity and wrong conclusions.
SWINDLE PUBLIC FUNDS
The owners of the land in question are not involved in any scheme to “fleece and swindle public funds” as alleged and any conclusion in that direction can only be termed as misconceived and not based on any verifiable evidence.
The report by Parliament’s Committee on Land is, in my well-considered view, cogent when it comes to the findings and its conclusions as to who the owners of the property are.
Indeed, as postulated by your writer, it is in many respects a well-measured, incisive and hard-nosed defence of public interest as well as private rights that cannot, in any event, be vitiated by procedural lapses pointed out by the parliamentary committee, albeit not agreeable to me.
The public interest allegedly being defended was not about who owns the land but procedure. The mere presence of primary and secondary school structures cannot justify the property being declared as public land.
The truth of the matter is that it is private land, a freehold at that, belonging to known entities and whose rights have been and continue to be violated by not so well-grounded comments and publications, which run contrary to Article 40 of the Constitution. The true position is set out in recommendation number 8 by the parliamentary committee.
The right to acquire and own property by the registered owners of LR No. 7879/4 has been violated and dragged through the mud unjustifiably.
The history of ownership could easily have been established at the Lands Office in Nairobi. The ownership of the property is clearly vindicated in Paragraph 21 of the parliamentary report.
The report ignores, and has run roughshod over, the Constitutional and statutory roles of the NLC. There was, therefore, a need for the Nation to carry out an independent investigation before running a news item that is solely tailored on it — on matters of procedure of acquisition of private land. It is a short-sighted action and exposes the concerned commission unduly.
MOSES KURGAT, advocate of the High Court of Kenya.