In A New Bid To Recover Ruto’s Weston Hotel Land

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has revived its bid to repossess contested land in Langata, Nairobi, on which President William Ruto’s Weston Hotel sits.

KCAA, in its fresh application filed before Environment and Lands Court, accused Weston Hotel of sitting on temporary orders which halted the hearing of the case for two years without prosecuting its appeal.

The authority’s lawyer Stephen Ligunya noted that Justice Bernard Eboso in 2021 granted Weston a one-year grace period to pursue an appeal on whether the Lands court had powers to hear the case.

However, Ligunya said that Weston has not shown any interest in pursuing the appeal, even after lapse of the grace period.

According to the lawyer, the orders should be set aside to allow KCAA to pursue Weston.

In 2021, Weston’s lawyers moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge an order that the case ought to be heard in full.

The case had been scheduled to commence on July 12, 2021, after Justice Eboso dismissed Weston’s argument that the judge had no powers to hear the case. In June 2020, the hotel urged the judge to dismiss KCAA’s case insisting that the court had no powers to hear it.

Weston’s lawyers argued that KCAA had defied National Land Commission’s (NLC) orders to conclude negotiations on the land after which Dr Ruto would compensate the State agency.

Weston argued that the only way KCAA would approach the court was through an appeal and not a fresh case.

While disagreeing with the hotel, Justice Eboso in March 2021 said the court had powers to hear cases emanating from the commission. The judge ordered parties to prepare to give their submissions on July 12, the same year.

In the Environment and Land Court, Weston claimed that the case filed by KCAA was politically instigated.

In its appeal, the hotel asked the court to overturn a ruling by the Environment and Lands Court that it has powers to hear disputes emanating from the NLC.

Before the Environment and Land Court, Weston sought to conclude negotiations that would determine how much it would pay KCAA for the 0.773 hectare land lying opposite Wilson Airport.

Citing NLC’s orders, the hotel had asked the court to strike out the case “because KCAA has not exhausted the remedies offered by the commission.”

However, KCAA claimed Weston colluded with two firms – Monene Investment and Priority – to grab its land.

KCAA lawyers Otiende Amolo and Ligunya argued that Priority could not have continued to deal with the same property after its legal interest in the land ceased.

While dismissing Weston’s application to throw out the case before it is heard on merit, Justice Eboso ruled that the authority had a legitimate claim before the court, which ought to be heard in full.

Weston argued that the judge erred and fully determined the case even before it was heard.

At the same time, the hotel accuses the judge of framing his own issues and discarding its argument in the ruling.

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