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DP Ruto’s hotel in fresh fight against land takeover

Weston Hotel, which is owned by Deputy President William Ruto, has launched a fresh bid for the dismissal of a suit where the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) wants to repossess land on which the facility sits.

Weston, through Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said KCAA erred in filing a fresh suit in court instead of challenging a 2019 decision of the National Land Commission (NLC).

The NLC had directed that Weston Hotel keeps ownership of the land and pays off KCAA for the property at the current market value.

But KCAA is pushing for revocation of the title issued in the 1990s, which ultimately will lead to the demolition of the hotel.

Mr Abdullahi reckons the law provides a procedure for an appeal before the Environment and Land Court, adding that KCAA should have appealed against NLC instead of filing a fresh suit.

“The Environment and Land Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to hear and entertain the instant petition. It can only hear an appeal expressly provided by the National Land Commission Act,” he said.

KCAA wants the decision by NLC directing the management of the hotel to compensate the agency for the land, quashed.

Weston has maintained that it was an innocent purchaser and the case was filed with ulterior motives, especially after NLC made a finding that the title was acquired legally.

Last year, the court stopped the implementation of NLC’s decision.

The disputed public land had been acquired by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation in the early 1990s for the construction of its headquarters.

The agency stated that Weston embarked on rapid construction without obtaining mandatory development approvals from relevant State regulatory agencies.

Kenya Commercial Bank waded into the dispute arguing that it did due diligence and confirmed that Weston Hotel is registered proprietor of the land, before advancing more than Sh1.2 billion to the hotel five years ago.

And for that matter, cancelling the title as pleaded by KCAA would prejudice the lender as it would end up losing monies, which the hotel was still repaying.

The lender said the first loan of Sh350 million and US $1,500,000 was advanced to the hotel in October 2014 and charge registered. The bank said about a year later, in July 2015, the Hotel took a further loan of Sh700 million and charged the property.