NATION: The eviction of over 1,000 squatters and their families from a 40 acre parcel of land acquired by the government 32 years ago for occupation by the Kenya Army, but later transferred fraudulently to private companies has been stopped by the High Court.

Justice George Odunga prohibited police and a private developer — the Kasarani Mall Limited — from kicking out the families from the Sh2 billion parcel in Kasarani, Nairobi, to pave the way for the development of a multi-million business enterprise.

Justice Odunga, who certified the case urgent, said the families who have been residing in the land for over 30 years will suffer. The community has built shops, residential houses, churches and schools.

The government put a caveat on the land after the Kenya Army failed to occupy it as intended. The plot has since been fraudulently transferred to individuals and private companies.

“Eviction of the 1,000 families dubbed squatters will contravene their constitutional rights,” said the judge.

He allowed three petitioners Francis Kiarie, Francis Kinuthia and Kimiti Wanjaria to sue the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police over the eviction without a notice.

SUPERVISE ILLEGAL EVICTION

Justice Odunga prohibited police from evicting the families pending determination of the case.

The case was filed by lawyer Aggrey Odiwuor Kenyatta who told the judge that officers from Kasarani Police Station had been requested by Kasarani Mall Ltd to “supervise the illegal eviction.”

The land was formerly owned by a Mr Mayer Jacob, who died in December 25, 1974, and is now registered in the name of Kasarani Mall Ltd.

“Upon the death of Mayer Jacob, his children Raphael Jacob Samuel and Meshumor Jacob Samuel were granted letters of administration but in 1985 the then District Officer Northern Division Kasarani indicated the government intended to acquire it for use by the Kenya Army,” Justice Odunga was told.

The court further heard that the government paid the family Sh23 million in compensation for the acquisition.

“The Kenya Army never moved to occupy the land although it had been acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1968 for public utility.”

“It was transferred to Solio Construction Ltd and later to Kasarani Mall Ltd fraudulently,” the judge heard.

The lawyer was ordered to serve the parties for a hearing on Friday.