Hotel owners in Diani, Kwale County were left counting losses after bulldozers descended on their posh motel on Friday, February 18, 2022.
The hotel owners watched as bulldozers demolished the property worth millions of shillings amid a protracted court battle involving Royal Media Services (RMS) owner S K Macharia.
But the hotel owner contested the demolitions and claimed that the orders which had been presented by police were not valid.”I can’t tell you what is happening. They have fake orders which are not related to us. They don’t have any order relating to us or property 48,” a woman who identified herself as the owner of the hotel told journalists.
Court documents indicated that Judge C.K Yano had ruled that the legitimate owner of the property was Mr Macharia.
In the ruling delivered in June 2021, the judge ordered the occupants to vacate the parcel of land and demolish structures that had been erected on it.
The media mogul was facing Estate Sonrisa Ltd in a court dispute where the judge ruled in his favour, stating that the contentious parcel of land in Kwale was legitimately owned by him.
Further, the court ruled that the survey fees shall be paid by the owners of the properties equally and any party found to have encroached on the other party’s land shall have 60 days to demolish structures that might have been erected on the land.
“If the party encroaching fails to move and vacate, the party whose land has been encroached shall be at liberty after the said sixty (60) days to demolish such encroaching with the help of the court bailiff who will be assisted by the nearest Police Officer,” the court ruled.
According to the judge, the cost of demolition was to be paid by the party that had encroached on the property. The court also ordered that a public path between the land parcels accessing the ocean shall not be blocked.
A person who had a questionable title deed was also termed as a fraud in the ruling. He was ordered to move and vacate the property within 60 days and remove any and all his structures and debris afterwards.
“In default, the 1st respondent in this appeal shall with the help of a court bailiff and assistance of police demolish all structures thereon. The cost of such demolition shall be borne by the said,” the ruling indicated.
In making the determination that the 1st respondent was the legitimate owner of the property at the centre of the suit, the Judge stated that he had traced the history of the disputed land.
“I have traced the history of this land Galu/Kinondo/50 in detail from its inception and allocation to Bakari Mohamed Mwatete to its transfer to Peter Nganga Kamande and Wilson Burugu Gitau and transfer of 1⁄2 share of the same from Wilson Burugu Gitau to Peter Nganga Kamande on 20th May 1981 and transfer of Peter Nganga Kamande to Samuel Kamau Macharia on 20th May 1981 both entries being shown as entry five (5) and six (6) in the land registry… The plaintiff still has the original title deed…..” justice Yano stated.