AG faulted in Sh61 billion Embakasi Barracks land grab case
The High Court on Monday accused the Attorney-General of stalling a Sh61.5 billion case pitting the Department of Defence against Nairobi County.
Justice Lucy Nyambura Gacheru said each time the case came up for hearing, it ended up being adjourned at the request of the AG.
The suit against the DoD was filed by the defunct Nairobi City Council (now Nairobi City County) in 2013.
“I now give the AG the last chance to appear in court and defend the Department of Defence,” said Justice Gacheru.
She warned that she would proceed with the case and determine it with or without the input of the government’s chief legal adviser.
The county is seeking to have the DoD compelled to pay it Sh61.5 billion for allegedly acquiring illegally 3,078.12 acres of land on which the Embakasi Barracks are located.
The county’s lawyer, Mr Donald Kipkorir, protested against a request by a junior State counsel, Mr Charles Kamunya, to have the case adjourned to enable his senior, Mr Francis Njoroge, who has instructions to defend the DoD, to be present in court.
“Given my rank, I am not allowed to handle a case of this magnitude. I apply for an adjournment,” Mr Kamunya told the judge.
But Mr Kipkorir protested, saying the trial of the case was being frustrated by the AG, an observation which the judge agreed with.
The county wants the court to order the DoD to remove its structures from the land if it fails to raise the Sh61.5 billion. It says it acquired the property for the construction of low-cost houses for city dwellers.
“We take it that the AG does not want to cross-examine Mr Isaac Nyoike (chief valuer of the property). I close the county’s case,” Mr Kipkorir told the judge on Monday.
But Mr Kamunya pleaded for the adjournment. The judge accepted the State’s request, saying the matter would proceed without fail on September 30.
Mr Kipkorir told the court on July 31 that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) should bear the consequences of its unlawful acts.
In his submissions, he said the county purchased the parcel of land from Kayole Estates Limited on November 22, 1971.
“Vide a letter dated November 7, 1997, KDF requested the NCC to allocate it 400 hectares (988 acres),” said Mr Korir.
The local authority agreed to allocate the parcel of land to the DoD on condition that the KDF paid it Sh40 million within 30 days.
Mr Kipkorir told the judge that the KDF failed to pay the amount.
“KDF wrongly took possession of the entire land and proceeded to build permanent structures on it. It has fenced off the entire land and the NCC cannot use the land, besides suffering a huge loss,” said the lawyer.
Mr Nyoike said he had valued the parcel of land at Sh61.5 billion.
The county has named the KDF, the Defence minister and the AG as the defendants.