Deputy President William Ruto’s Weston Hotel in Langa’ta should be brought down because the land on which it sits was acquired through fraud, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has said.
According to papers filed in court in a fresh suit by KCAA in its attempt to reclaim the land, the authority’s lawyers accuse the hotel of dispossessing the agency of its land with impunity and in collusion with two private entities and the National Land Commission.
The petition filed before Environment and Land court last week argues that the Langa’ta Road land was initially owned by the Directorate of Civil Aviation, which was succeeded by KCAA, and the corporation was pursuing its registration to build its head office.
However, two private companies “procured registration as owners of the same land through illegality, fraud and corruption” before forcibly evicting the authority and its employees.
“They forcibly removed the petitioner’s costly air navigation equipment and spares and dumped them at sites in Industrial Area and Athi River, causing their degradation from harsh exposure to the elements,” the documents read.
Of interest to Weston is the accusation by the agency that it accepted to be part of a scheme by the two entities to defeat KCAA’s efforts to reclaim the land by buying it at “grossly undervalued price of Sh10 million” in June 2007.
“By this, Weston Hotel participated in perpetrating the fraud and illegal grabbing of the public land,” KCAA says.
Further, the authority cries foul that despite the hotel’s “full knowledge of the petitioner’s [KCAA] lawful claim [over the land], it procured registration of the transfer in its favour and began the construction of its current development, without….bothering to seek or obtain development approvals from state agencies, including the petitioner.”
By deliberately buying the prime land as undervalued, the petition argues, it did not pay the required amount of tax, an act amounting to tax evasion.
The hotel also consistently ignored and deliberately failed to comply with the agency’s orders to stop construction, despite clear indications that erecting structures on the land that is opposite Wilson Airport posed a threat to air navigation safety.
Noting that the NLC’S determination on January 25 that the land belonged to KCAA remains unchallenged, the authority argues it did not give the commission the offer to receive a cash payment as restitution for the land, demanding that the hotel be evicted from the land within 30 days of the determination of the case.
The land is to be reverted to the authority by the hotel vacant and without any structures on it, the papers read.
The petition also prays that the court orders the hotel, together with Priority Limited and Monene Investment Limited, pay the aviation authority general damages for the unlawful eviction and forced relocation.
In the meantime, KCAA has obtained injunctions against the NLC, stopping it from implementing its determination that it reached in January.
KCAA is also demanding that it be paid mense profits by the three entities after the court determines the case. Mense profits are the benefits of an estate received by a tenant in wrongful possession and recoverable by the landlord.
On the part of NLC, the petitioner argues that the commission’s decision to require the hotel to pay the KCAA a market value restitution even after finding that the land belonged to the authority was reckless, unlawful, and amounts to regularizing corruption and land grabbing.