Ruto links Weston demolition to 2022 election intrigues

Photo: Credit /Business Daily Africa/Weston Hotel in Nairobi.

Deputy President William Ruto has linked the court bid to demolish Weston Hotel to the 2022 Presidential Elections where he is fighting to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The hotel has filed fresh court papers arguing that the suit is a conspiracy between the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and certain political actors to politicise the controversial land deal for cheap political drama.

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

The authority has challenged National Land Commission (NLC) ruling the Weston Hotel should retain the land and compensate KCAA at the current market value, drawing opposition from the hotel. “It is a cheap attempt on the part of the conspirators to malign and scandalise the Deputy President because it is believed he has certain interest and association with the property,” reads submission filed by Weston lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi.

“The suit is being prosecuted to damage him politically. It is precisely because of that political scheme that the petitioner (KCAA) had been forced to file this petition instead of filling an appeal from the decision of the 1st respondent (NLC).”

Weston Hotel through its lawyer reckon that KCAA was under instructions to undertake a political hatchet job on Dr Ruto and the case is “wanton act of political skullduggery”. Weston Hotel wants the dismissal of a suit where KCAA wants to repossess the land where the facility sits. The hotel said KCAA erred in filing a fresh suit in court instead of challenging a 2019 decision of the NLC.

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. 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.

NLC through its director of legal affairs and enforcement Brian Ikol said KCAA and the hotel submitted itself to the Commission and never raised any objection during the proceedings. He said it was therefore wrong for KCAA to fail to disclose this fact to the court and was instead misrepresenting facts “with an intent to mislead the court to render an unjust and unfair decision”. In the decision,

Mr Ikol said, NLC took congnisance of KCAA’s omissions and commissions that led to the alleged allocation of the land to Priority ltd and Monene Investments ltd and subsequent transfer to Weston.

“That for the avoidance of doubt, the remedy sought by the petitioner would mean that the 1st respondent would turn a blind eye to the 2nd respondent’s rights a bona fide purchaser and further act in violation of section 14 of the NLC Act which allows the 1st respondent issue consequential orders it deems appropriate in a claim, the constitution of Kenya and Fair Administration Action,” he said.

Source: Business Daily Africa