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The Chandarians Lose Ksh20 Billion Claim In Squatter Squabble

Dhiren Chandaria. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The government will not pay the Chandaria family Ksh19.9 billion as earlier ruled by the High Court concerning their 95.2-acre piece of land occupied by squatters.

The land belonged to Orbit Chemicals, which is owned by Dhiren Chandaria, Ashok Chandaria and sachen Chandaria.

In the High Court, judges ruled that ministry officials colluded with cartels to grab the land and subdivide it, hence awarded the Chandarians Ksh6 billion, which has ballooned to Ksh19.9 billion as of 2017.

However Court of Appeal judges found that in case the company suffered losses as a result of invasion by squatters, the government was not to blame. Instead, the Court lay the blame on the squatters.

In the appeal, government lawyers argued that the officers who originated the compensation deal were not authorised to transact on behalf of the government.

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“We say this because the placement of a caveat may hinder transactions touching on title but not the operations on the ground,” ruled the three-bench judges.

Reports by Business Daily indicate that Orbit bought the land in 1987 from the National Bank, but later found out that the Registrar of Titles Jemimah Munjuga had placed a caveat on it on behalf of the government.

The caveat was lifted in 2000 by the commissioner of lands, ending a “13-year economic loss for Orbit”, to which they demanded compensation.

State lawyers also argued that the person who computed the award of Ksh6 billion did not have the authority.

“Under Section 8(1) of Government Contracts Act, no contract entered for or on behalf of the government shall bind it unless such contract is signed or countersigned by the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Treasury or a person or persons specially or generally authorised by either of them in writing,” said state counsel Waigi Kamau.

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. Believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye.
Follow me on Twitter @FmuliKE. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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