Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga wants the court to direct investigations into the identity of the registered owner of a Ksh. 250million disputed parcel of land in Karen.
In an affidavit where former director at WOW beverages Stuart Gerald Cullinan Herd is in court against businessman Erick Lugalia over the land, Mutunga said when he last visited the property, it was in the possession of the late Cheryl Jean Sonnichen.
He insists that neither Jonathan Moi nor Erick Lugalia were said to be the owners of the disputed property.
Mutunga was a friend to the late Cheryl Jean Sonnichen who was the original owner of the land and later sold to Stuart.
“It is my considered opinion that the court may want to seek intervention of the ODPP and office of the DCI to investigate this matter at the Nairobi land registry either before or after its hearing,” reads the affidavit
“It is his argument that he later learnt from one Linda Benvenuto, the executrix of the estate that she sold the property to one Stuart on or about 2019 who then took possession and occupies the property as the new registered owner.
However Erick Lugalia, a businessman, claims that he was gifted the land by Jonathan Moi.
“There is no evidence of the purported rent collections or the individual tenants whether by name , or tenancy agreements,” says Stuart.
There is no reasonable explanation why Jonathan Moi or Lugalia allegedly acquired and were registered proprietors of the said property.
In his affidavit, Willy Mutunga says: “Mutunga and Cheryl were friends. He presented her in a land transaction. Cheryl towards the end of 2005 was purchasing a residential house in Karen measuring 1.970 hectares from CMC holdings. Mutunga acted for Cheryl as the purchaser’s advocate. Cheryl took possession of disputed property on May 2006 and lived on it until her demise on October 25, 2015.”
However Erick Lugalia claims he is the legal registered proprietor of the suit property situated on Bogani road in Karen estate.
In his affidavit, he alleged that he purchased the suit property in the early year of 2015 adding that it was transferred to him and that the has at different times rented the property to individuals who have been paying rent and he has always been in control and occupation of the property.
He further claims that Stuart had made a claim of the property without any legal documents to support ownership.
Stuart argues that the allegation that Lugalia has been in possession of the property since 2015 is false, baseless and unsubstantiated.
“Lugalia has produced documents tainted with illegalities,” reads the affidavit
He claims upon search of the land the chief land registrar confirmed to him that the transfer documents purportedly registered in the name of Lugalia are not authentic and do not form part of their land records.
“In June this year, my team of advocates approached the Chief Land Registrar at Nairobi forwarded a purported search dated March 17 2015, and a transfer dated March 12 2015 between Lugalia and Jonathan..requesting the lands office to confirm the authenticity or whether they have parallel records in respect to the suit property.