Billionaire businessman Humphrey Kariuki and a pension scheme for Telkom Kenya workers are embroiled in a tussle over a prime piece of land where his Wow Drinks company operates from in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.
Teleposta Pension Scheme Trustees claims that the land worth at least Sh250 million was reserved for public use. It was then illegally and fraudulently registered in the name of Kariuki’s company, Crucial Properties Limited, in 1998.
Crucial Properties has registered the land LR NO 209/3335 as a commercial property being used by a wines and spirits shop. The shop in question is Wow Drinks, one of the dozens of companies owned by Kariuki through his Janus enterprises empire.
The pension scheme argues that it was awarded the property as part of the assets carved from the former giant Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Company. On the other hand, Crucial Properties argues that it is the legitimate owner of the property based on the adverse possession rule. The company argues it has occupied the land for 24 years which makes it the legitimate owner.
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“The plaintiff’s suit is hopelessly time-barred in accordance with the Limitation of Actions Act since it has been filed over 12 years from the period within which the Plaintiff’s accrued right of action over the suit property would be applicable,” argues Crucial Properties Limited while objecting to eviction to the property in court filings wanting the suit to be kicked out.
Crucial Properties has relied on Section 7 of the Limitation of Actions Act saying that the land cannot be claimed by anyone after 12 years from the date they occupied the property.
The company has however lost its bid for dismissal of the suit after Justice Oguttu Mboya ruled that their objection was devoid of merits and that the plea of statutory limitation was not well grounded.
“I have also found and established that the plaint beforehand discloses a plethora of triable issues, which can only be interrogated and investigated vide a plenary hearing,” said the judge.
The judge noted that the pension scheme, in its court papers, contends that the information pertaining to the registration of the suit property in the name of the company came to the knowledge of the Scheme in the year 2013.