Shattered dreams of a Nairobi lawyer

The house situated in Karen Plains is at the centre of dispute between the man who built it, Sam Muturi and three other people who have gone to court claiming ownership of the land.

Ten years ago, Nairobi lawyer Sam Muturi believed he had laid a solid foundation for his future after buying half an acre in Karen, a short distance from the Deputy President’s official residence.

Leaving nothing to chance, the lawyer meticulously searched records at the Ministry of Lands’ Ardhi House headquarters until he was satisfied that the property he was investing in was clean.

It was on the strength of this due diligence that he built his dream house on the prime property.

Three years ago, Mr Muturi moved his young family into the house and had no regrets.

But his dreams were shattered on the afternoon of May 20 this year when he found two notices pasted on his gate.

At first, he thought they were campaign posters but soon realised it was more serious than that.

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They were court notices advising him to appear in person or send a lawyer to the hearing of a case that had been filed in connection with the ownership of the property he now called home.

“Take notice that this suit shall come up for hearing on July 26, 2017… The suit herein relates to parcel number… in Nairobi County wherein previous service in this manner was effected on you on February 11, 2014, though the Nation newspaper vide court order issued by the court on January 24, 2014. And further take notice that unless you attend by yourself, your advocate or by someone by law authorised to act for you, the same shall be heard in your absence and orders made accordingly,” read the notice dated May 10, 2017.

No dispute

Muturi was confused because to the best of his knowledge, there had never been any dispute between him and any other person concerning ownership of the land.

He cannot understand why the claimants never sought court orders to stop him from developing the land, instead choosing to wait for more than six years to confront him.

When he made further enquiries, he discovered that the plaintiff in the case, which was filed by three people in 2011, claimed to have been given the land by the Government in 2002.

He said these were total strangers to him.

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The claimants, who were suing the Commissioner of Lands, Attorney General and Muturi, claimed they had been living in Canada but on returning to the country, learnt that the land had been developed.

Muturi cannot understand how the land had two title deeds as he had personally spearheaded the land transfer from the previous owner.

Case heard

But he hopes all the answers will surface when the case is heard in court.

The dispute has shaken his family as that is where they have lived securely for three years.

“There is no way my search in the Lands office could have been so wrong. Something strange has happened but the truth will come out. I could not blindly invest in a property whose value is now about Sh100 million. Something is not adding up,” said Muturi.

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