Court Orders Man to Surrender Land He Failed to Use for Years

  • A Nakuru man lost ownership of a three-acre parcel of land he failed to develop for 42 years.

    The Environment and Lands Court ordered the land registrar to cancel the registration of the title deed under Wilson Kimalel and hand it over to Peter Wachira. 

    Judge Mwangi Njoroge declared Wachira as the rightful owner adding that he was entitled to be registered as the owner of the disputed land.

    Ksh347 million Nakuru Law Courts

    The court found that Wachira had occupied, cultivated and tilled the land continuously and uninterrupted for 42 years.

    Wachira told the court that although the land was registered under Kimalel’s name, the defendant had never bothered him for over 42 years.

    In court documents, Wachira stated that his brother had purchased the land before and after subdivision, the title was issued in the name Kimalel instead of his brother.

    “After discovering that the land title had been issued in the name of the defendant, my brother lodged a caution over it,” Wachira told the court.

    Justice Mwangi Njoroge ruled that Wachira had established his claim on the parcel of land and ruled in his favour.

    “The balance of the probability favours the plaintiff (Wachira) in the case and I hereby enter judgment in his favour against the defendant (Kimalel),” Njoroge stated.

    The judge stated that Wachira was entitled to be registered as the owner of the land and ordered the Land Registrar, Nakuru, to cancel the restriction registered on August 22, 2001, against the title to the land.

    “The registration of title in the name of Kimalel shall be cancelled and the Land Registrar shall issue title in the name of Wachira,” Justice Njoroge ordered.

    This is not a common practice but a ruling by the Environment and Land Court judge Anne Omollo directed that people can lose ownership of their land if they fail to develop the land for over 10 years.

    Omollo made the ruling in a case where Abdalla Juma, a marine engineer, lost a two-acre land in Mombasa to a businessman who developed it while he was abroad.

    Justice Omollo ruled that Juma bought the land in 1982 and was in possession of all original registration titles, he could not reclaim the land after it was sold and the businessman developed it.

    The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019
    The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as pictured on November 18, 2019
    Simon Kiragu
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